2020 was a GREAT year, right?
If we understand our salvation through the lens of conformity to Christ, then 2020 should have been a seriously GREAT year for us Christians. 2020 provided lots of opportunities to SEE the ugly in ourselves and lots of opportunities to DIE to the ugly we saw. If we’re honest, most of us did not make the best of all those opportunities.
God doesn’t protect us from life.
Sometimes we live life with the expectation that God is supposed to protect us from the unpleasantries of life. But God doesn’t protect us from life because if He did, He’d be protecting us from spiritual growth. Conformity to Christ can’t happen without growth, and growth is about the new creation, and becoming a new creation happens progressively via choice.
At least two things are necessary for spiritual growth – revelation and response. Life, the Word, the crisis, etc. bring about the revelation – an awareness about ourselves we didn’t have before. Our response is an act of our will in the direction of Christ, His Gospel truth and Kingdom commands or it will be in the direction of the world, our flesh or our emotions. One choice bears witness of the culture of Heaven coming alive in us and the other bears witness of the culture of Hell that’s still alive in us.
So, back to those opportunities…
The hardships of 2020 revealed where Christ is not leading in our RELATIONSHIPS. We saw where we lack the evidence of redemption and transformation, where we still aren’t kind or good or patient or even just plain nice.
Some of us saw where we lacked FAITH or where we are still too easily discouraged. The news, Covid, the national election, the unrest in our cities, and more made us cynical, faithless, frightful, hard-hearted and maybe even feeling some hate – not of evil, but of people.
Some of us realized that our CHRISTIANITY is really just church-ianity, so when church buildings closed or church things changed, we saw that our faith wasn’t powered by the Spirit and the Word. It was mostly only powered by a scheduled trip to a building, and when that got unplugged, so did our walk with God.
Some of us figured out that we really don’t know how be disciples who contribute to making disciples unless the conditions are just right, the programs we’re used to are in place and we can do things like we like to do them. We’ve realized that we really have a Gospel belief and obedience centered around comfort and circumstances vs. the Commands of Christ and a Cross.
It’s 2021 and the opportunities are BAAACCCKKK.
So, 2020 was a great year in God’s book, if we grew – we saw the ugly, died to the ugly, and chose God’s way over our own – progressively. If that didn’t happen so much in 2020, Good News! God will give you lots of opportunities in 2021 to grow, too! He’s committed to your salvation being about conformity to His Son, Jesus Christ. Make sure you’re committed to that, too.