Choosing Love in the New Year
2020 has been a bummer for many people to say the least. For many more that word is far to breezy to describe the amount of grief and loss that they experienced. Because of this, it has become quite a meme to over anticipate the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021, like no other new year before it. I also share in this hope for the year ahead.
Over the next few days I would like to write about a few perspectives that I am prayerfully carrying into the new year. All of them rooted in the fruit of the Holy Spirit. In the letter to friends in Ephesus, the author writes that through Christ we have "forgiveness for our failures based on (God's) overflowing grace, which he poured over us with wisdom and understanding."(1:8 CEB) It is this identity that I want to live into in the year ahead. An identity rooted in life in God's presence knowing that I have been healed, forgiven, and that grace is pouring into my life until it overflows. It is from this place of identity in Christ that the Holy Spirit grows fruit within our lives. Fruit that can be tasted, savored, shared, and enjoyed. Paul described this fruit as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. There is no law against these things, and they can never be taken from you. Only cultivated and enjoyed.
It is no accident that the first description of this fruit is love. God is love, and everyone that loves is born of God and knows God. Nothing can separate us from God's love, it is the engine of the universe, the solid ground beneath our feet.
And yet, love is often a choice isn't it? When we choose to live in God's love and center our lives around it, we can live in compassion for others and see them as God does. Love connects us to God's children and reminds us that we too our children of God. Love compels us to serve, to listen, to care, to grow.
When we choose let go of love, God's love never leaves us, but as we center more on our selfish ambition, the conventional wisdom of the world begins to shift our attention. So we grow insecure as we wonder if our contributions are noticed, we hoard our gifts, talents, and possession as resources to be conserved instead gifts to be shared and enjoyed. Fear, rather than trusting faith guides our decisions. Slowly but surely you drift toward the insular concerns of self preservation, protecting your rights, and making sure you get what you deserve.
The funny thing is, when you live in God's love all of that stuff is taken care of anyway. This is a truth that takes faith to actively believe. So in this new year, maybe the greatest choice you can make is to choose to trust that God's love is enough. That it is all that you need to guide you and sustain you. This sounds so simple that you could easily write it off. However, this is a choice that will lead you beyond mere words and into loving action and truth. The choice to live in God's love will take you right to the center of what it means to live like Jesus. If you have read anything about Jesus, you know this is not an easy road, but a pathway full of light, life, and abundant love.
In 2021, I'm choosing love. I'm praying for the Holy Spirit to guide me in love and root me in God's love. May this be the fruit that is seen in our lives.