Thursday, January 1, 2009

Faith in the New Year

As a part of our family’s New Year’s Eve festivities last night we watched WALL-E. The futuristic movie was slow enough that my mind had time to wander and I found myself contemplating the relevancy of the Christian faith in our modern times and into the future. At moments it can seem like the era on the horizon will render the Bible a collection of stories not worth remembering.

So it was during the time of Prince Caspian (I refer to the book, which was better than the movie, of course). Tales of talking beasts – dwarfs, centaurs, and beavers – as well as Aslan himself had become irrelevant stories to be forgotten under the illegitimate reign of Miraz, Prince Caspian’s uncle. Prince Caspian would have never known about such things except that Miraz unwittingly hired a tutor for Caspian who was secretly half dwarf. As the story unfolded, the truth of Aslan was revealed.

Now while my faith is strengthened by Lewis’s Narnian tales, they are by no means the basis for it and I found myself back in God’s Word this morning. I flipped open my Bible to take in some random passage. Given the recent thoughts swimming through my head, it was with renewed freshness that I took in Hebrews 11 and the surrounding verses. The world’s onslaught against the Christian faith can cause me to tire and “shrink back” (Heb 10:39). But then I consider how faith is “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb 11:1) and how it has been on vivid display through the ages in Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Sampson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets in the Old Testament (Heb 11) as well as countless others from the New Testament times to today.

This “great cloud of witnesses” (Heb 12:1a) testify to God’s faithfulness and relevance in all the ages. When I think of these witnesses, I am inspired to do just what Hebrews calls us to do – to “lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes upon Jesus” (Heb 12:1b-2a).

How brief a moment it takes for me to recall my entangling sin, “for I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me” (Ps 51:3). But one of the beautiful things about a new year is that we take this brief moment to reflect, lay aside encumbrances, gird our loins with truth (Eph 6:14), refocus our eyes on Jesus, and then move on into the new year.

By God’s grace may I be able to lay aside the bad, take up the good, and live for Him this year.

1 comment:

kate said...

I always come away from reading your blog refreshed. ;> Thanks.