Hello dear reader, welcome to the year 2022. The beginning of a new year is always a good time to look back over the course of the previous twelve months and measure metrics we had resolved to track in the year. For some of us, it is how much we have grown our knowledge of God or how we have grown in stature. In any case, having a year to look back in a reflective mood is always a blessing.
In this article, I would like to share with you five of the most important lessons that I learned in the last twelve months. These lessons are not ranked in any particular order.
Most of what I will be sharing will be in the first person because this will be more of what I have learned than anything else but I pray this will be of great impact to your soul.
Your sins should be your priority
Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Matt. 7:3 (ESV)
It’s easier to see the sin in others’ lives than in mine. It is easy to see loopholes in others’ conduct and not in mine. Jesus, in his famous sermon on the mount, points this out. This past year was a year where I learned to always put this thought at the forefront of my heart, every day.
Making my sins a priority, even above the sins of my family members, helped me to realize that I am as much of a sinner as anyone and shows my need for a Savior. It also humbled me in many ways.
The reality of my sinfulness and helplessness made me more thankful for what Christ has done for me. It also makes me much more willing to forgive others, for I have been forgiven greatly.
This does not mean that I should not be bold to confront sin when I see it. In fact, I am admonished by the Word of God to confront sin especially, the sins of my fellow Christians (Matt. 18: 15-17).
However, it is clear that my sin should be of utmost priority to me. It is in this that I see how patient, kind, forgiving, and loving God is to me and I can, in turn, be a reflection of those fruits to others.
Time away from screens is essential
I work in the technology industry, and as such, the amount of time I spend in front of a screen is quite a lot. This is also the predicament of most people nowadays. We can’t go a couple of hours without checking our phones or iPads or laptops. We want to quickly escape boredom and we see our devices as a way to escape such a torturous situation.
However, what I have found in the last year is that the best part of my day is usually when I take time away from my devices. I get to read the Bible, read books, and think about the information I have obtained from various means.
You might not be a tech person as I am but you might have noticed that you spend more time on your phones than before. I would urge you to have stretches where you intentionally exclude phones from your interactions with the world. It is my experience that these interactions are much more rich and fruitful than those on your gadgets.
Always be prepared for eternity
So teach us to number our days, that we may present a heart of wisdom.Psalm 90:12
Death is certain, inescapable, and imminent. This is one of the more sobering lessons I have learned in the past year. It is not that I did not know this before now, it is that I did not think about it as I ought to have done. Perhaps, in those years I have always thought that death is beyond me or at least I had thought that I was keeping myself as safe as I could. This could not be further from the truth. The Bible says:
Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain; unless the LORD protects the city, its watchmen stand guard in vain.Psa. 127:1
Since death is certain, and thereafter, judgment. The most important venture I can submit myself to is to prepare my heart for eternity–for unceasing worship of God. Therefore, I must set my heart on the things above, not things here on earth (Col. 3:2). I must endeavor not to be like the rich fool who stored up treasure here on earth but I must look to continually lay hold on eternal life and fight the good fight of faith (1Tim. 6:12).
In all of this, I must ensure above all else that I am relying, fully and absolutely, on the ascribed righteousness of Christ to me by faith as my only sure stand of justification in the sight of God.
Salvation is the most important thing in the world
In Him[Christ] we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace. Eph. 1:7
I took the liberty to ask a number of people this question, with intentionality: “What do you think is the most important thing in the world?”
I got various answers, as you might imagine. Someone said: “Having the necessary relationships”; Another said: “Knowledge”.
In all of those conversations, all of what I could get was something related to getting to the top, making a living, and so forth. I was really surprised that none mentioned salvation because most of those I had asked this question are professing Christians.
On further introspection, I realized that if I had asked myself the same question before I was converted, at which point I was also a professing Christian, my answer would not have differed greatly from theirs.
My dear reader, I would like for you to know that there is really just nothing as important in this world as being justified in the sight of God. Because, if we are not justified in the sight of God, the wrath of God not only abides on us (John 3:36), we would spend forever and ever in that wrath in hell.
Ponder on this singular thought: Jesus Christ, the Son of God, lived a sinless perfect life to die in the place of sinners like us. So that through His death the penalty of sin in our lives has been paid. And now, we have his righteousness accorded to us by faith. What wondrous love is this!
God is real
…for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Heb. 11:6
You might be a little perplexed by the sub-heading. You may even scoff at it, saying in your heart: “Of course, God is real”. Yes, God is real but I discovered over the last twelve months that we have reduced God into an idea rather than a real entity.
Have you ever pondered on the reality of God and what that means? Or have you been overfed with a lot of the Bible that it becomes just one in the fictional books collections you have created in your mind?
Have our children not turned the Bible into just a book of instructions similar to their Civic Education texts? Do they not think that God is just another character in a cartoon movie? We must begin early to teach them of the reality of God before all other things.
Before you consider any of God’s attributes, do you first consider that He exists? That there is a being who created all we touch, see, feel and taste? That He is there looking down at your thoughts? At all of our thoughts? And that He is real? Have you ever considered it?
It was not until I considered God in reality and not fiction that I began to understand the urgency of salvation to my soul and began to have some comfort in His Words.
Dear reader, thank you for coming with me all the way to the tail end of this article. The five things that I have shared in this article which I have learned over the past twelve months are things that I still have to constantly remind myself of every day. On some days, I forget about them, and on others, they have been of great blessing to me but I desire that I continually subject myself to these truths and lessons that I have learned with the help of God, the Holy Spirit.
I hope that you would join me in this march of consistency in truth.