5th January 2014

Another New Year: Growing Older or Growing up?

Whether we are teenagers, in our 20s, 30s or 40s, this year we will all be growing older. But will we be growing up?

Despite our New Year resolutions many of us sail through life year after year leaving behind a trail of failed commitments and broken promises. On top of all this we also experience setbacks and periods of pain and suffering which are not necessarily of our own making: rejection in relationships, financial crisis, sickness and emotional pain.

Our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ should make a big difference in our lives. The New Year resolutions which really count will not take us very far unless we are and remain rooted in the truth and grace of God. When Jesus tells us that apart form Him we can do nothing (John 15:5) He really means it, for man is truly nothing without God.  It is the Presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives which brings about real change and growth, healing and hope, perseverance and faithfulness, fruit that will last.

Sometimes this growth may be imperceptible and slow, whilst other times it is very evident. Whatever the case, we need to trust that God is always at work in us (Phil 2:13).  However He requires our utmost and untiring co-operation. If we are struggling with childish selfishness, we need to name it and take responsibility for our sin and wrong behaviour. Then as we we are transformed and grow in love, we also learn how not to live by the dictates of unreliable emotions and passions and the standards of this world. That is why we need to grasp on to the objective truths of God’s Word and find the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives – this empowers us to choose differently. This freedom can only be ours if we live in the Spirit by maintaining a life of prayer.

When we fail as we sometimes will, we are called to remember that in the believer’s lexicon the words ‘despair’ and ‘discouragement’ do not feature. By His grace and mercy, we can always get up and move forward again. Our heavenly Father is patient, forgiving and loving all the time and eager to shower us with His blessings and His joy and countless new beginnings.

Lord, you are calling us this year to grow up: to put away childish excuses, to fight procrastination, to struggle with the tendency to drown pain, boredom and negativity in sinful pursuits which only make it worse.  Its a new year and we are growing older – but most of all we want to grow up! Take us further and deeper as we turn to you in daily prayer, scripture, the sacraments and trust you as our Lord and Saviour in the real circumstances of our lives.