I’ve briefly reflected on 2016 before, but that was to encourage us to make 2017 all about Jesus and not about anything else. That is, Christ in the centre of our families, studies, workplaces and so on. Here I wanna reflect on the specific lessons and insights that the Lord brought me through this year.
New Beginnings: The Lord spoke to me at the end of 2015 as I read the Bible that 2016 would be the year of new beginnings. The most obvious “new beginning” for me would be my transition into NS, but clearly God gave me new beginnings in many areas as well. New LG, new friends, new connections with old friends, new passion, new favor in every area. And many new lessons too.
Christ-centered Friendships: Having forged close bonds with SFC, I was worried that my friendships would end as I entered NS. God reminded me that He placed them in my life to point me to Him, and for me to point them to Him too. Point one another to Christ. Because for all of our lives we will need to be continually reminded to fix our goals and desires on Christ, we can be friends for life, even though our life stations change. Why else would I remain close to my ex-churchmates more than 2 years after I left?
Accepting Rejection: I’ve attempted to catch up many of my friends in my pre-enlistment freedom, and was turned down countlessly. I did get discouraged for a while. God then reminded me that it took both parties to want it to work out for a friendship to work out, and if it doesn’t work out, it means at least one of us isn’t intentional. And the kicker is this: even if a friendship doesn’t work out, at least I can be assured that I was intentional, and I’ve done my part. It’s okay to get rejected, because I’m forever accepted by God.
Build the Church: If we think about it, the only lasting work we do is building the church. No matter what personal success we achieve or wealth we hoard, everything is meaningless. God revealed to me that to build the church is build people up and to point them to Christ, and that is the primary principle in the way I interact. I have hopes to invite my fellow NSF colleagues to church service on Saturday and believe God will move mightily in their lives because of His grace for me that overflows.
Wisdom: To accomplish the two-pronged goal of building people up and pointing them to Christ, the Lord revealed the supercritical principle of wisdom. This can only be achieved if God leads the way, and He does this by responding with accurate and timely help. Thus the Lord grew Me in this area, continually asking Him for help to “build them up and point them to Christ.” Even when talking with people, I might mumble under my breath these words of prayer and reliance.
Trust in the Lord: In every fight of faith is the enemy, that is doubt. Having been denied friendships in the past, I was incredibly fearful of being denied of close ones in the future. I asked God in a service, “What if we don’t have the opportunities to spend quality time with one another? In all situations I trust in You and believe You will make it turn out for good,” and the Lord replied, “Because you trust me, I ensure you all these (good) things will come to pass.” Faithful God has been, faithful God will be.
Waiting: But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up on wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. This was one of the hardest lessons for an impatient me to learn. To go through life waiting for God to move powerfully was, simply put, not easy. Not knowing what do do in the wait or how to struggle through it, not knowing what direction to turn to other than Christ my righteousness, not specifically living out my destiny for the moment was not easy. Yet, coming out of it at the right time, the Lord lifted my perspective to see my growth in this area of patience in many, many ways.
Assurance: An aspect of my life I can’t live without. My walk with God only took off when I’m assured that I’m assured that I’m saved through and through and I can never ever be unsaved or unrighteous or unloved by God. With friends, you see a similar picture. I needed firm assurance from the people I love before I can really live unworried that they will unfriend me some day. I’m glad to have received such assurance in the month of December, a time when I needed it the most, and that helped me look at my already close friends with an even healthier perspective to kick start the New Year well.