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A Prayer for the New Year

My husband and I usually go out for a date sometime around the New Year and we generally take a few minutes to talk about some of our goals or hopes for the upcoming calendar year. I'm not a huge fan of "resolutions" (or the pressure/guilt that comes with not keeping them) but I think it is healthy to evaluate where we are and where we'd like to be and to foster the dreams springing up in our hearts.

When I think about the things I'd like to do or change in 2019, two things keep coming to mind...

1. I want to sing outside everyday - even in the rain or snow...this is a super random desire but I think I'm going to roll with it.

2. I want to pray Galatians 4:19 over my family. This scripture makes the most sense when read in the context of the entire chapter, but the essence of the verse, and what I'd like to pray, is that Christ would be formed in us.

Gal. 4:19

my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you!

I have spent a lot of time in recent weeks thinking about the idea that we were created to bear God's image. We were made to reflect God and when sin entered the world humans lost their ability to reflect His image clearly. Broken and smudged we represented only a fraction of our good and holy God. BUT GOD, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us (Eph. 2:5) has given us another chance. Through the work of His Son and His Spirit He is restoring us, forming and reforming us - bit by bit - from the inside out that we might once again bear His image well. This is what is meant by the term "sanctification": God, in His wisdom and mercy, shaping us into the image of His Son.

Oh that Christ would be formed in me more and more this year! Oh that Christ would be further formed in my husband. Oh that Christ would be formed in my children. Oh that our family might reflect more and more clearly the glory of God!

And perhaps this is a dangerous prayer - much like praying for patience - because the shaping and reforming of hearts and minds may often be messy and painful and disruptive. But I think I'm going to pray for this anyway and ask for the grace we will need to welcome the best kind of mess and pain and disruption into our lives for the sake of fulfilling our most basic purpose - to bear God's image in a world that so desperately needs to see Him.

It is a beautiful mystery to me that we are invited to live in God and that He somehow lives in us as well. He lives in our home and even better, He lives in me. How can this be? It is too good. It is the difference between acting Christ-like and actually being Christ-like. Behavior modification is no longer my highest aim - not when God can transform my desires and dreams and motivations and delights.

Friends, we don't have to just clean up our act - we can be brand new.

Oh Christ, be further formed in me this year! Please make of my life more than I could make of it and use every part of me to reflect Yourself. Amen.

1 Cor. 15:10

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.

John 15:4-5

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

Gal. 2:20

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

2 Cor. 4:10

always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.

1 Cor. 2:16

“For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

Rom. 12:1-2

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

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