Remember the Stakes

This being the first post of the year, one could assume I would write one about resolutions, “New Year, New You,” or something on the positive, yet when I am introspective and stand at the edge of the Grand Canyon that is 2016, I tend to be more cynical and less “happy go lucky.” Allow me to elaborate. I am prone to sin. I am prone to let my selfishness dictate life-choices. I suffer from the symptoms of my sinful state. Instead of looking out into this great chasm with an outlook of positivity, I opt for melancholy. I think it is vital for our growth in this new year to remember what’s at stake, for when we remember our shortcomings and of what we are capable, we can truly thrive in this new year.

From a very young age, I have been mindful of Satan and his power since a young age. It is almost as if he is equated with the boogeyman. When I thought about sin and the wrongdoing of man, I almost instantly equated it with Satan and his work in us, conveniently leaving absent any will of men and women. I think countless Christians suffer from this misconception, despite Satan’s omniscient inability. I remember when I began to understand the conflict with Satan’s monopoly of sin, for when I think about it, much of the sin in which I partake I instigate. While I am tempted by Satan and his minions, I alone pull the trigger. I would argue that the problem, and what I am against this new year is me, and as I live my life, I know my shortcomings, and my goal is to defeat the true enemy – me.

I think of mankind and I think of individuals who did immensely good things for the rest of us. Individuals like Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King Jr., and Martin Luther come tom mind. Yet, in the same turn, I know mankind is capable of incredulous evil, reminding me of Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and events like the Native American Removal in the 1800s. I know in my heart, and all of our hearts lies in waiting sin, an evil akin to the former people and events. When I consider what this year could entail, or could not entail, these images come to mind. Sometimes what I want can be likened more to evil than the good in my heart, even though the former is not inherently good in itself. This year is neither good nor bad, what I make of it will make it so.

As I explained above, this post is not meant to be an overly encouraging one, but one to make me think, even if it does not make you think in return. It makes me remember that this life is not about me. This year presents more opportunities to live for others, to live for the One who gave me life and redemption when I make a wreck of it. I get far more chances than I can reciprocate credit. God provides for needs that have not yet felt.

I hope you will look at this year in the same way. When we remember the stakes, the fact that we must affect change in a world that does not understand us all the while battling the affliction of sin, this year may take on a heightened urgency. God thankfully has more for us than sin, but a life of abundance. Let us stand at the canyon walls, look down at the brightly colored dirt that is the days, the shadowy crevices that are the nights, and ask our Father to use us for His glory, not our own edification. 2016 has begun, remember the stakes.

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