The New Year usually causes us to reflect and refocus; reflect on how far we have come and refocus on where we want to go. God's word gives us the best place to focus by telling us to "Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18). In one of his New Year devotions, Charles H. Spurgeon gets right to the point by stating: "He who grows not in the knowledge of Jesus, refuses to be blessed" (from Morning and Evening, January 4). We all desire blessing. I trust making growth a top priority in 2009 will wash away the troubles of 2008 and bring a fresh start to our New Year.
When Jesus prayed for you and I in John 17 he said, "Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent" (John 17:3) Knowledge of God is eternal life. God is speaking through these passages saying growth in grace and knowledge of Jesus has to be a priority every year, day in and day out. And with Jesus praying for us there is no way to fail in our attempts to grow.
How do we grow? We practice standing on the promises of God daily. To stand we need to know the promises, and to know the promises we should look them over on a regular basis. For his divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires (2 Peter 1:3-4).
Listening Hearts, let's pray a New Year's Prayer to start the year off right (Inspired by the same Spurgeon devotion mentioned above):
Dearest Lord Jesus,
Because your divine power has given us everything we need for life, please show us new ways to grow in grace—not in one grace only, but in all grace. Help us to grow in that root-grace, faith. May we all believe the promises more firmly than we have in the past. Let our faith increase in fullness, constancy, simplicity. May we also grow in love. We are asking that your love may become extended, more intense, more practical, influencing every thought, word, and deed in our lives. This will cause us to grow likewise in humility. As we grow downward in humility, may we seek also to grow upward—having nearer approaches to God in prayer and more intimate fellowship with Jesus. In your precious name we pray all these things. Amen.