Live With 20:20 Vision This Year
Posts are popping up all around the internet today about living your best year yet and pursuing your dreams. Many of them claim the mantra “new year, new you” and proclaim that today is the day to hustle and make “it” happen. You might be reading them with an added skip in your step, with renewed vision and gusto moving you forward. Or you might skim them with a disgruntled sigh because each year seems to go the same way.
January starts off with a bang. You’re highly motivated to meet and achieve every goal and life ambition. You read your Bible every day and stick with a chronological reading plan (at least through Genesis); then February rolls around and your fervor starts to fizzle. March arrives and the fizzle becomes an almost extinguished flame. By the time the calendar flips to June you can’t even remember the vigor you had on January 1st and begin to wonder: How did the time fly by so quickly?
A Day Like Every Other
This scenario describes the progression of most of my years. I’ve always loved and looked forward to January 1st. The first day of a new year feels a bit brighter than all the others. Decisions are easier to make. Waking up early isn’t as hard and putting the “Word before the world” is more delight than a duty. But life continues to happen. Things don’t go “perfectly.” And when life takes a turn on a road I never wanted to travel, or people don’t live up to expectations, or plans change like the wind, I often give up. My hope was placed in a day, an idea, a goal, and not in my God.
When I take a step back, I can see more clearly in the grand scheme of life, January 1st is a day like any other. For many, though, it’s a reminder that we do get a fresh start. The good news for the Christ-follower and child of God is a fresh start is possible at any moment, not just on one day. As Gloria Furman aptly put, “His mercies are new every morning, and it’s always morning somewhere.”
My hope is not in January 1st, my hope is in Jesus.
Whether the day is January 1st, March 15th, or December 31st—He remains the same. You and I are constantly changing, like lumps of clay in the hands of a potter, but the Potter remains unchanged. He shifts us while at the same time remaining unshifted. Each day is another day we take shape through His pressing and molding. Each year is another opportunity to look back, gaze forward, and remember why we are here in the first place. And this year, we have a constant reminder to live with an eternal perspective, and that reminder is in the very date you will be writing all year long: 2020.
Put Your Gospel Glasses On
A few years back I found myself squinting in the doctor's chair trying to decode the tiny letters, numbers, and symbols before me. I’d noticed that I could no longer read signs far away, and after working on the computer (which is a large part of what I do!) my eyes would ache. The optometrist prescribed a pair of glasses to help remedy my vision. When I wear them, things are clearer. My head doesn’t throb after writing on the computer, and blurry signs become clear.
But I don’t always wear them. I often forget to bring them with me, or simply opt not to put them on when I am working. The result? A headache and tired eyes. It’s never worth it to skip my wearing my glasses. The doctor knows best.
We often do this in life, though. We start out the new year without wearing the “gospel glasses” Jesus came to give us, and we begin putting our hope in change instead of an unchanging God. Jesus came to correct our vision and help us see with an eternal perspective. We are born without the ability to see things clearly. Life is distorted when we wear the blurred lenses of sin and fallenness.
But when we are freed from the world’s death-grip on our souls and die to the flesh in order to live to Christ (Galatians 2:20), we put on “gospel glasses” that enable us to see what was once invisible. No longer do we live with a hustle mentality, striving to make more money, be more successful, or be well-known; we live to know Christ and make Him known. Gospel glasses change everything about what we see and the way we live.
Jesus gives us 20:20 vision
After Jesus died, His disciples wept and mourned the loss of their Lord. Though He had told them time and time again that He would be raised from the dead, they did not understand. They did not have their “gospel glasses” on yet. In John 20, the progression of belief unfolded as Mary Magdalene and several of the disciples arrived at the empty tomb. Peter and John did not believe Jesus was gone until they saw the tomb (vs. 3–10). As Mary Magdalene stood outside the empty tomb weeping, Jesus appeared to her, and she didn’t know it was Him until He called her by name (v. 16).
That evening, Jesus miraculously appeared to the disciples while they were meeting in a secure location. John 20:20 says, “As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord!” When they saw, they were given 20:20 vision. Jesus essentially put their gospel glasses on, enabling them to see things clearly. They were never the same.
If we truly want this year to be different, this day to be different, this moment to be different, we have to join the disciples in seeing Christ in the Word, believing Him and obeying His call. The ultimate “best year yet” is the year lived in total surrender and submission to the Savior of the world. In Christ, you are already a new creation, and today just might be the day you need to pause your busy schedule to “be still and know” He is God (2 Corinthians 5:17; Psalm 46:10). May this year, 2020, be the year we live with 20:20 vision—our eyes glued on the mystery, miracle, and majesty of Christ.
Let The Year Remind You
Every single day you will have a reminder before your eyes to put on your gospel glasses and live for the Kingdom of God, not for the kingdom of earth. As you write out the date, let it remind you that with God, every day is a fresh start. With God, every season is a gift. With God, every year is a speck on the timeline of eternity.
The time is now to live for our risen King. This really could be the best year yet, not because it will be an easy year. Not because it will be the year you accomplish every goal. Not because it may be the year you finally lose weight, or run a marathon, or simplify your life, but because it can be the year you put your gospel glasses on each day and see life through an eternal perspective. And that will ultimately change everything, no matter what day it is.