Happy New Year! 2010 is here. So many of my family and friends have expressed how fast 2009 has come and gone. Reminiscing about specific events in 2009, we can all relate to those annual celebrations of birthdays, anniversaries and various holidays. As these events repeat year after year, they also bring deeper meaning to those who participate.
Looking at a year in a glance, the cycle of the American calendar displays nearly a holiday to celebrate each month. In November there is Thanksgiving, December brings Christmas, New Year’s is in January and Valentine’s Day marks February, just to name a few.
The Biblical Jewish calendar celebrates the annual cycle of the year, which focuses on festivals and celebrations. These include events such as Passover Festival, Feast of Pentecost, Feast of Tabernacles (or Feast of Booths as it sometimes referred to), and The Day of Atonement. These weeklong celebrations designate annual events to bring remembrance and celebration of what God has done.
In similar format, one of the Christian calendars of the historic church (during the Ante-Nicene Age) focused on various meditations and remembrances of Christ. These included; Reformation Day in October, Advent in November, Christmas in December, Epiphany in January, Easter in April and Pentecost in the spring.
Not only do we see a cadence with various calendars of the year, we can easily see other types of patterns. Nature has a four-cycle system of weather based upon the four seasons of the year. Fall brings the beginnings of crisp air that leads to the cold snowy winters. Spring greets us with fresh new foliage of plants and flowers that leads into a summer of hot sun and long days.
Likewise, the ocean with its still quiet waters, mount up with roaring rushing waves forcing their way onto a sandy beach, only to stop at an imaginary line. Retreating back after heeding a call from its Creator, the wave slowly withdraws backward into the large vessel of its origin. Then with a rhythmic sequence, like clockwork, it repeats this format again and again.
Various occupations call for various cycles of routine.
A farmer prepares the soil, plants the seed, and tends to the fields, then gathers the harvest.
A public school teacher yields to the sounds of the scheduled bells, teaches students, grades papers and attends staff meetings.
Cashiers count the money for their drawers; scan purchases for each customer; bags groceries; and then closes out with another counting of the drawer.
An athlete, no matter what sport, attends training, practices plays, performs at game events then takes a season of rest.
No matter if it is a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly format; it seems as if everything has a cycle and repeats of motion. Whether it is the world itself, or the humans within it, cycles are inevitable.
Apostle Paul speaks of a cycle of spiritual disciplines. When writing to the church at Philippi he appeals to them in all the four chapters, urging the saints as well as the bishops and deacons in leadership to “bump it up a notch” in regards to practicing the spiritual disciplines of Christ.
Philippians chapter 2, versus 1-8 states “Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:1-8 (NASB)
Knowing that we are unable to complete this task on our own, Paul lovingly assures the reader that it is indeed possible! He points us to the power and example of Jesus Christ, by identifying three different categories in which this process can successfully be accomplished.
A) Mind of Christ — walking in humility in all things as He did being humbled in human form
B) Knowledge of Christ — accepting that true righteous comes through faith in Him
C) Peace of Christ — living a lifestyle of serving others through love, unity and selflessness.
So I want to ask you ...
What will you do in your 2010 yearly cycle?
When 2010 comes to an end, will you be able to say that you were faithful in your spiritual cycles of disciplines?
If you feel compelled to do things that will count for eternity, start now by including in your yearly cycle the quest of pursuing the mind, knowledge and peace of Christ found in the New Testament book of Philippians.
As many people are planning their list of New Year’s resolutions, join me in investing seeds for eternity, guaranteeing our earthly cycles of what we do each year will not fade into oblivion but rather become jewels for our crowns.
About the author
Simone Lake is a full-time minister and serves in the areas of international Bible teacher, speaker, missionary, mentor, chaplain and author (with the goal of publishing one of her books in 2010.) She holds a master’s degree in theology and attends Church on Randall Place, where she serves in various capacities alongside her husband, Pastor John Lake.
Read more about her current Bible studies, speaking engagements and upcoming events at: simonelake.com and simonelake.blogspot.com.