Lifelines December 30, 2018

As we say goodbye to an old year and welcome a new one, we pause to reflect.  The Lord urges us to do that on a regular basis.  He has put mechanisms and practices in place to provide us with opportunities to do so.  A look inward is essential to growth and development.  Where did we do well?  What did we stumble over?  Where could we have done better?  What will I work on in 2019 to improve?  The old saying is that if we fail to plan, we plan to fail.  Failure is not a very wise strategy.

The Corinthian church was filled with troubles.  Division, immorality, abused and misused spiritual gifts all marred the Christians of that wicked city.  Society had tainted them.  The saints behaved worse than the sinners around them.  It was an embarrassment.  They had failed to develop beyond spiritual infancy (1 Corinthians 3:1), and their practices showed it.

Two letters to that childish church both called for self-examination.  It is within this correspondence that we have some of our most extensive teaching about the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:23ff).  It was to be a weekly observance to draw their minds back to Jesus.  It still is.  As Christians, then and now, start the week by stopping.  We cease from all of the worries and work of the world to focus on our Savior.  Remember Him, and in so doing we look at ourselves as well (1 Corinthians 11:28).  Reflecting on the Lord will give us a much clearer view of ourselves.

Without that weekly reflection, we easily drift.  We forget the extraordinary sacrifice that He made to save us from the fate that awaits the world.  Forgetting has always set off a series of events that result in disaster.  The Israelites quickly forgot their liberation from Egypt and all that God did.  As unimaginable as that seems with all the miracles that they witnessed, they simply did not think about them.  The consequences were a mess (Psalm 106).  The Lord’s Supper keeps Him, and our covenantal blessings and responsibilities fresh in our minds every week.  We need that.  It brings us face-to-face with ourselves.

Scripture shines the brightest light on our inner self.  It is seldom easy or comfortable, but it will help us to see ourselves from the Lord’s perspective (Hebrews 4:12-13).  His word will probe us in our most hidden places.  The private thoughts and plans that we keep carefully tucked away will be brought out in the open for us to see.  That always brings about a critical moment.  What will we do with what they expose? What will we do to walk closer with the Lord in the coming twelve months?  His great desire is to bless us.  He announced it to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3) and delivered it through Jesus Christ.  What will we do with Him and His plan in 2019?  Happy New Year!