2016, it’s another year. Will this year be any different from the last and the many that have gone by? It can be. If we follow the pattern.
Many of us have excitedly unboxed a new gadget or toy, too eager to see it work only to stop halfway and realise it isn’t working quite the way we imagined it to. It probably is a faulty item – or so we thought – and make our way to return it quick before the exchange period is over. Crestfallen, we make our last bid to make it work. In our determination (or stubbornness), we forcefully manipulate it – then damage it. There goes the vision of the perfect experience. This whole while, the owner’s manual lays silently in the pile of plastic wrapper and torn-up boxes, desperate for us to flip it.
Life is the same way.
Just like every gadget or toy is built with a blueprint and a pattern of how it works, so is life. God has given us a blueprint and pattern of how life can be lived and enjoyed to its fullest. All that we’ve ever imagined – the excitements, thrills, adventure, discovery, joy, love and community — is within reach! But we have to follow the owner’s manual and not forcefully will things to work our way.
We are not our own. We belong to God. He is our Creator and Maker. He fashioned us and made us. He knows what we need to function at optimal. He knows how we can fulfil the purpose for which we were made.
God’s “owner’s manual” is a little different. He begins from the inside. The “manual” doesn’t tell you what to do but how to be. We read the “manual” to know how to think, how to perceive and how to process. All these will naturally translate to our life’s choices and behaviour.
There is a pattern and we must follow it. Without the pattern, even hard work and sheer determination will amount to nothing. For example, God’s word clearly instructs us to join in the apostles’ examples and not be conformed to the world (Philippians 3:17-21, Romans 12:1-2). That is the first step. After which, the battle is holiness against worldliness. The only way to win is to build and fight.
In 2016, go back to the word of God. Study the pattern and follow hard after it. Fight against the current of this world and resist its pattern and order. Be not conformed but renewed and transformed into His likeness! Begin by building walls of protection, setting up boundaries in your life so the most valuable and most precious is safe and guarded. It is at the walls that the enemy first attacks. But it is here where we build and fight.
Life is about choices. Once we make our choices, our choices will make us. 2016 is your choice. Make it according to the pattern! (1 Corinthians 7:31, 2 Corinthians 4:18, 2 Peter 3:10-14, 1 John 2:17)