I’ve never been a small-purse girl. I’m still in awe of women who can go out for the day with a bag barely big enough to hold their phone and a tube of lipstick. What happens if you need your sunglasses? Or your checkbook? Or breath mints?
I’ve managed to downsize my bag a bit, but I’ve never mastered the art of packing light. But in this week as we take a breath between the birth of our Savior and the birth of a new year, I’ve been thinking about what to to leave behind on January 1. Here are three things I don’t want to carry into my new year:
John Bevere calls offense The Bait of Satan. Offense is such an insidious trap, especially in a world that celebrates victimhood. And it’s so, so easy to fall for it. Someone posts a Facebook post we’re sure is meant for us, texts a comment we take as snarky, or makes an offhand comment that rubs us the wrong way. And there it is: we’re offended. Being offended gives us permission to dish out retribution, dismiss anything they have to say, and retreat to our own safe little worlds where we don’t have to hear anything we disagree with or don’t like. But wisdom teaches patience, not offense.
A person’s wisdom yields patience;
it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense (Proverbs 19:11).
Instead of offense, embrace grace. “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2). It’s easy to get offended. It’s much harder to bear with one another in love. But sometimes we just need to let it go. Forgive. Shake it off. Move on. Often the insult we picked up was never intended for us–and even if it was, it’s not worth letting it live in our heads and hearts. Believe the best about others. Give second chances. Don’t blow things out of proportion or churn up a storm of emotions over an imaginary slight. If you’re carrying around offense, put it down now. Let’s carry grace into the new year.
Some days it seems like the whisper lurks right next to my ear. You are not enough. You will never be enough. No matter what you do, it will never be enough. Satan is our accuser, and I think that “enough” accusation is one of his favorite lies to throw at women. Not matter what we do, no matter how successful we become, there is almost always still one area where we hear the poisonous lie. Not beautiful enough. Not smart enough. Not successful enough. Not good enough. Not doing enough.
Instead of inadequacy, embrace identity. “ But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9). Stop listening to Satan’s lies and embrace the truth of who God has declared you to be. Christ brings us to fullness (Colossians 2:9). In Christ we are a new creation, brought from death to life, given a new name, and thoroughly equipped for every good work through his word. Let inadequacy stay back here in 2015. Walk into 2016 in the confidence of your identity in Christ.
(And if you need to silence that not enough whisper, check out Becoming a Woman Whose God is Enough by Cynthia Heald. It would be a great study to start off your new year).
Satan’s goal is always to steal our worship. When we give our devotion to something other than the Lord, Satan wins. The Sunday School answers are easy to pick on. Money. Sex. Entertainment. Relationships. We name them fast and easy because we think these struggles belong to people who are not us. But there are other more subtle idolatries that also war against our soul. How many hours of my day do I spend caring for my stuff, trying to find places to put it, and wishing I had more? How many times do I try to feed my soul-ache with food or fill it with distractions or stifle it with over-commitment? Anything that takes God’s place in our lives is idolatry, no matter how innocent it may seem.
Instead of idolatry, embrace worship. In worship we realign our souls into relationship with our true king. Worship fulfills the purpose for which we were created. Worship brings heaven to earth as we celebrate the power and might of our creator God. Worship creates space for God to dwell in our midst, and powerful things happen when God dwells among his people.
We’ve got lots of good things to carry into our new year. Let’s leave these three things behind. What are you leaving behind you as you enter 2016?
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