Is 2020 the beginning of a new decade or the end of the last? Whatever your social or mathematical persuasion may be, 2020 has been the ‘new’ for many things.
On the global scene, the year was marked as the new decade with prospects of booming economies, only to be shuttered because of the novel coronavirus, an unprecedented viral spread which continues with increasing deaths.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made world news at the start of the year when they stepped back from the royal family. We saw the worst bushfires in Australia yet, the controversial American Presidential election, the ongoing international war threats and trade disputes, and end this year with the United Kingdom’s much-anticipated final exit from the European Union on 31 December.
On the local scene, it would be the 2020 General Elections with the transition to the 4th Generation leadership amid an unchartered global Covid-19 climate and economy.
As I contemplated the subject for this year’s final blog, the Holy Spirit directed my thoughts to Ecclesiastes – the last verses in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 sum up all wisdom thus: ‘Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.’
Regardless of global shifts, our duty to live godly and honouring lives doesn’t change because God doesn’t expect less of us during trying and unpredictable circumstances. The one thing that keeps us focused is having kingdom vision, being part of something bigger than ourselves by looking beyond what’s right ahead of us. It’s to press towards – and intend to connect and pursue – a hopeful future.
We celebrated Christmas a day ago, and understood Jesus Christ came because the fullness of time had come. The world through His birth, sacrificial death, and glorious resurrection will be saved because in Christ is LIFE, and only those who believe in the One sent by God can have eternal life.
Historically, no person has been so widely portrayed in film, drama, story, books or in narrative as Jesus. But, hearing about Him is not enough – there must be an opening of the eyes and ears of our soul to begin to understand what Jesus is talking about.
John 6:57-58 says, “As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.”
We honour Christ and all He is when we offer to people what Jesus is offering us. Jesus emphasised in the earlier verses of John 6 that ‘the bread that comes down from heaven’ is embodied in Him; which means we’re to have Christ in our life – in the most complete, deep, and fullness of His Word. Meeting Him in mysterious and dramatic ways, desiring to shape our life into a loving gift for God.
This is an invitation to an intimate relationship. He’s the source of eternal life, and the spiritual hunger in us can only be satisfied by a spiritual diet. This invitation is to everyone, but not many will respond. Intimacy defines our life with Him. Ecclesiastes 12:12 emphasises ‘the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body.’
Everyone has been invited to God’s divine banquet and we’re to immerse ourselves in the Word, in intimate worship, copious moments pursuing Him, and refuse to be discouraged by wilderness experiences.
My prayer for you as we close 2020 is to consider the life God intended us to live. We must not keep our day-to-day life separate from God, thinking to pursue Him restricts our autonomy. Your openness, vulnerability, and honesty will guide you into a unique relationship with Him ‘for many are invited but few are chosen.’
In the words of Aiden Wilson Tozer, “Nothing in or of this world measures up to the simple pleasure of experiencing the presence of God.”