January is a time for new beginnings. It’s the time to get healthier, richer, happier, and more responsible. Old things are made new for the sake of second chances. But… there’s beauty to be found in old things. I’m so thankful for more opportunities to grow closer to God and to those around me, and I believe 2019 will be life-changing. When I think about it, though, 2018 was pretty life-changing too. Tim and I celebrated my first wedding anniversary, encountered God with hundreds of teens and adults in our student ministry, and we started our senior years of college. Big things happened, are happening, and will happen. Even today, as I begin my final semester of school, the abundance of God is available to me. It’s not saved up for the future or lost in the past– it’s all here, right now.
Here’s what I want to tell you today: God didn’t take you through 2018 so that you could leave it at the door of a new year. The present moment holds significance for your walk with God, and today holds countless blessings. If you’re always looking over your shoulder or straining for the horizon, you’ll miss the scenery.
People tend to make bad decisions when they neglect what’s around them in favor of what they don’t yet have. In Genesis, God creates dozens of fruit-bearing trees and vines for Adam and Eve to enjoy, with one tree that’s off limits. By chapter 3, Satan has twisted their current blessings into meaningless, boring burdens. The one thing that’s out of reach is now the only thing that matters, regardless of all the beauty and bounty around them.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You[a] shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “you will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise,[b] she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.
This was the citing incident for humanity’s brokenness. All of the pain, struggle, and fear we walk through stems from a moment of discontentment. When was the last time you sinned? Can you find a root of discontentment there? Jealousy, impatience, tempers, and laziness all stem from wanting what you don’t have. You want something to go faster, work better, be easier, or impress more. Discontentment is a barricade against God’s blessings and presence, and we have all fallen short.
True worship can happen anywhere, at any time, and all you have to do is thank God. Thank Him for the breath in your lungs, a body that moves, a mind that functions as it should. Thank Him for your loved ones, your job, your home. You have so much to be grateful for, even if you’ve been chasing more. Big things are happening all around you, if you’ll just look up.