The word “January” is taken from the Latin “janua,” meaning door or portal, from which one may look both ways. The Roman god of beginnings, “Janus,” faced both directions. This month that rings in a New Year really isn’t just about the future. It’s also about the past, which plays a big part in things to come.
We begin a new church year in the Lord, looking into the future while knowing our past, and it begs the questions, “Can we expect Crown of Life to bloom in 2012?” “How well did we till the soil and plant the seed of God’s Word in 2011?” “Have we prepared ourselves for what lies ahead in 2012?” An honest evaluation might be scary. It might even hinder growth in our church.
Be warned, Satan uses this to hinder our growth. He tries to fill us with a hesitation that keeps us from taking chances with the Word, changing sinful habits, sharing our faith. All the while we think we’re being faithful to God, others and ourselves but we’re really being faithless. Words like “I could never” or “He’ll never” and “There’s no way” and “Not me” rule our decision-making, and God watches with disappointment, actually disgust and anger, as his children act like cowards, missing all the blessings he had in store for them.
Peter learned that lesson well when Jesus told him to get out of the boat and walk on water. Peter had no doubt gained experience with the water and knew its buoyancy limitations. But the next few steps of Peter’s life were not to depend on Peter or water, but on Jesus.
Take another look into the past and see where you’ve been blessed in ways you simply hadn’t anticipated or arranged. Go further into the past and see how God opens up opportunities for his people even when they have personally paved their way into a dead end. “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End,” Jesus promises us (Revelation 22:13).
The months and days of 2012 have much to do with the past, specifically God’s six day creation, the days of our birth, and the week of Christ’s Passion. Jesus Christ has been there in the past, choosing, rescuing us and giving us life. Jesus Christ paves the way. Blessings and challenges abound. Blessings amid challenges abound.
Our next steps in 2012 don’t depend as much on us as they do on Jesus. He’s already been anywhere we are. He is always with us in whatever condition we might be. He will always be ahead of us leading the way safely home. So, people of God, look both ways and boldly step into the New Year. Jesus has us covered. In His Service,
Pastor Martin Luchterhand