Did you sense it too? A collective sigh and mental applause rang out when we flipped the calendar to October — the final quarter of 2020 (or Q4 for you accountants, bookkeepers and sales executives out there).
It was as if the intense drowning feeling of this elusive year softened ever so slightly, like we surfaced and inhaled a big gulp of fresh air. An extra boost of oxygen seemed to emerge.
The endless black hole of 2020isms looked a little less daunting as a renewed sense of “we will survive this year” eclipsed the ugliness.
I still feel the pain of so many who are hurting around me. That part seems to intensify by the day.
I’m also still sad at so much of what is happening in our world, and I’m hoping and praying for better days for all in 2021.
But before we put the period on the end of this year in just 77 days (give or take a day according to when you read this) and slam the door tight on 2020 (which is totally understandable), it would be helpful to reflect and see what we learned about ourselves, the world and God.
How are you different now than at the start of this year?
How do you rate yourself when thinking about how you handled the extreme changes and uncertainties we all faced during 2020?
What would you do differently if you knew in March what you know now? What would you do the same?
What areas need growth in your life? How are you going to achieve that growth?
Where have you gained trust in other people? Where have you lost trust?
What are some ways you personally can help make this world a better place?
What will you do in 2021 to grow closer to God? How are you seeking to know the mind of Christ, see His face, become more like Him overall?
Honest self-evaluation typically hurts a little because we have to face the less than polished parts of ourselves.
But once we take that courageous step, then we can work toward sifting and improving.
In Philippians 3, Paul talks about “forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.”
He describes pressing on toward the goal and staying focused on “the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
As fellow believers, let’s consider encouraging each other with the same goal Paul outlined. Let’s find a way to let go of the shackles from 2020 and point our eyes toward Glory.
We are merely passing through this land on our journey Home, but let’s not forget our assignment to make sure every person has the opportunity to know Jesus and spend eternity with Him as well.
Philippians 2 reminds us: “At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.”
A word from Philippians
Written by the Apostle Paul to the Church at Philippi around the year 62 but still relevant for the Christian life
Chapter 1 excerpt
“He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion … it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent … be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. …
“Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ … with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents.”
Chapter 2 excerpt
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who … humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. …
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.”
Chapter 3 excerpt
“One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.”
Chapter 4 excerpt
“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. …
“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (ESV)