I recently watched a helpful helpful video comparing the end of a year to the end of life. It got me to thinking personally. What if I did the same. The sweet memories, the regrets, the lessons learned, the highs and lows. Here a few thoughts of personal inventory guided by Philippians 3:7-15.
When I die, I’ll wish I had…
– Loved (served) more
– Laughed harder
– Lived better
Losing Doesn’t Make Me a Loser (v7-8).
In many ways, I’m ending this year worse off than I started. Maybe you too… lost job, lost income, lost health, lost friend / loved one. But loss isn’t always bad – failure doesn’t define you. It resets my focus and rearranges my priorities: love people, like things, live for God. Suffering is good for many reasons: because of Who wills it, the good fruit it brings, the lessons it teaches (see 1 Peter 1:6-7). Paul says that the things that he lost were nothing – because it enabled him to gain Christ. How do you see loss?
Humility Trumps Hard Work (v9).
Self-righteousness comes naturally to me – how about you? I’ve got to be very careful to not be comparing myself to others – it can be very discouraging and/or self-gratifying to do so (2 Cor. 10:12). Neither result is good because both get my eyes off the real standard. There is only ruler we must measure ourselves against… Jesus. We must trust more and cling to grace. Paul recognized that real intimacy with Christ didn’t come through self-effort or through hard work – but humble faith because of the good grace of God.
I Still Need the Gospel (v10-11).
The gospel has miraculous power – but not just for the sinner. In fact, more-so for the saint because it is a progressive power. Paul lays it out simply: if you want the power of the resurrection (which we all desperately need), we’ve got to be well-acquainted with the cross and the tomb too. No crucifixion, no resurrection. Jesus didn’t hid this when He called disciples, He didn’t minimize the cost. It’s a cross, it’s death… daily (Lk. 9:23-24).
Never Give Up Hope (v12-15).
None of us have arrived – we all push forward. We’re not yet complete, we haven’t matured. We’ve got a long way to go… but don’t quit. Don’t lose sight of the prize. Be patient; be persistent. Forget what’s behind and, with today’s fresh start, keep going. We have hope that He’s actually working harder at this than you are (Rom 8:29; 2 Cor. 3:18; Phil. 1:6). What a great perspective leading into a new year…
WATCH the VIDEO:
The Sobering Effect of Year-Ends from Desiring God on Vimeo.
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