New Year, Same Jesus.

    I don’t know about you, but I’ve got some high expectations for 2016. I’m graduating from college and jumping into what they call, I’m sure affectionately, the “real world.” I’m under no delusions that the decisions I make now lock me into forty years of the same thing over and over as perhaps they did for our parents, but these next steps are still important in the long run. They still affect what the next year of my life will look like. 

    And so I’m facing 2016 with much trepidation and awe—not unlike a certain hobbit we know before a long journey. And I’m certainly carrying a lot of baggage from the previous year. 2015 was not my hottest year, I’ll be honest. I chased—read: sprinted—after affirmation and fulfillment in people and things that I wasn’t created to find satisfaction in. In short, I wasted so much of my time. But in the last few months of last year, I found renewed purpose in seeking out the face of the one who made me. And as I began to press in more to his intentions for me, he started peeling off all those distractions, one by one. It’s a painful process as I’m sure many of you are aware, but oh the benefits y’all. Who knew that when we stop grieving the spirit with our thoughts and actions, we get to partake in the fruits of the spirit? Somehow in all my years as a born-again Christian I had never formally made that connection. I was living a life with Jesus as a spiritual guide and mentor, but toughing it out on my own, never knowing the joy and empowerment that lay in the spirit-filled life. 

    Looking forward to all this year has to offer and all the Lord could do makes me so hopeful. A scripture I’ve committed to memory for this year, Romans 12:1-2, urges us to present our bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, as a spiritual act of worship. It commands us not to be conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewing of our minds—and catch this—so that we might prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. So in my obedience to the Lord this year, in the laying down of my objectives and objections, in our pursuit of a holy life, he makes his will evident to us. I don’t have to walk into this year blindly if I’m following those commands. We don’t have to spend this year always looking back at the mess we left behind because he has purpose and plans for us. If that’s not a call to transformational living in 2016, then I don’t know what is. 

This post was written by Taylor Bump, part of the CTL team and a student at the University of North Florida.