Well… It’s that time of year again. It’s the time of year when we all make New Year’s resolutions that we will never actually follow through with. In fact, if we were honest with ourselves, making something a New Year’s resolution is probably the surest way to ensure that you will never do it. This has been my own experience anyway. New Year’s has historically been a time of very little enduring motivation. This is probably because in New Year’s we have very little real anticipation. Sure, it’s a new Year and it carries new challenges and experiences but in actuality we have done the new year thing and it brings us little motivation to get anything done because if we don’t get to something, we can always do it next year. New Years has kind of lost its excitement and anticipation. It’s anticipation that allows us to find motivation to meet challenges.
One of the times in which I found the most motivation when I was a child was when my grandmother would come over every Tuesday to see us growing up. I was excited and always loved spending time with my grandmother, but the motivation came when I looked at my room. My grandmother is a sweet, no nonsense, depression era child, who didn’t take any lip and always appreciated cleanliness and discipline. Before she came over my mother would always threaten us, “If you don’t clean your room, I am going to ask your grandmother to go down and look at it.” We only ever made the mistake of thinking it was a hollow threat once. My three brothers and I, who shared the room, all knew that it was much preferable to “clean” the room in our own way than to have to clean it to the standards of my grandmother, which could easily take hours under her unwavering supervision. It was the anticipation of the judgement of my grandmother that gave us a renewed vigor for cleanliness. Which, for four boys that share a bedroom that was known to be a place of extreme hazard and unknown surprise, is saying something.
This is, in many ways, the same way in which we should live our Christian life. Peter describes this idea well in 2 Peter 3:11-13 in which he writes;
11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! 13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. -2 Peter 3:11–13
Peter writes of great anticipation and waiting, but it is waiting for something in particular. We are waiting for the return of Christ and the subsequent kingdom of righteousness. The question that arises in my mind is possibly, “Am I prepared to live in a kingdom of righteousness?” Paul echoes this same idea.
6b We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. -2 Co 5:6–10
In other words, Jesus is coming and we should be ready to stand before Him. The coming of Christ should be something that should illicit in us great anticipation. For us as individuals, it has the potential to be something very good, or it could be very difficult. If we have been pursuing Christ and living lives of service to God and others, we have a great deal to be excited about. If we have let our rooms get dirty and cluttered, then we may have some cleaning to do. Either way, the anticipation of Christ’s coming should draw us to action, and encourage us to, in a sense, follow through with our commitment to Christ. I guarantee you, if you have to do some house cleaning, it’s better to do it now than to do it when Jesus gets here. Something tells me that His standards are a bit higher than ours. So, if you are desperately looking for somewhere to improve yourself this New Year’s, clean your life. After all, when we read 1 Corinthians 15:52 we are reminded that something truly exciting could happen this year. I would like to be ready, I would like to be excited, I would like to anticipate something of incredible promise this year. Won’t you join me?