By Not Known

2O08 has not been much of a year for humanity.

Governments and key international bodies again largely failed to restrain evil and seemed to have missed their chance on climate change. Greed and fear gripped the financial markets and spilled over into major economic difficulties. Violence remained in the usual trouble spots and had a final splurge in the Mumbai attacks and their aftermath. Our sense of truth and moral right continues to languish as each decides for themselves what is right and true. We continue, to turn our backs on each other and to give way to individualism and short-term experiences.

In all this we reap what we sow (Gal 6:7-8).

Having abandoned God as our reference point for truth, values and meaning we are left to ‘enjoy’ the fruits of godlessness. As God said: ‘… every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood.’ (Gen 8:21).

2008 demonstrates how little real progress we have made. Technical advances have made us but ‘clever devils’ as Samuel Johnson said so long ago. We abound in information, but seem less wise about the great issues of life.

To summarise: 2008 seems one extended illustration of Jer 17:9 :’The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure’.

Our great need in 2009 is the gospel of Jesus that renews and rebuilds the heart and all else about us. As Christ dwells in the heart, we are renewed in God’s love and filled with the measure of the fullness of God (Eph 3: 17- 19).

That has personal and church implications.

Many of us plan for our physical and financial health in the New Year. This is good and responsible. Let’s also plan, monitor and act for our spiritual health by giving priority time to growth in godliness. Let’s all make it a goal that we are in better spiritual health this time next year.

As a church, let’s be sure that we offer Jesus to the world. We are at God’s best and our best when we focus on making Jesus known, calling people to repentance and faith and helping them to stay Christian and to grow as Christians. That’s the key to a better 2009.