4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:4-5 NIV)
We are heading into a new year. It’s that time of year when something within us desires change. We long for something different than we’ve experienced in the past year so we sit down and write out our lists–some call them “New Year’s Resolutions” while others simply call them “goals.”
I’m a goal kind of guy. I normally sit down at the end of each year, ask God what He is desiring to do in my life, try and discern what’s stirring in my heart, and put a pen to paper. I sat down this morning and took a look at the goals that I listed at this time last year. The good news is that some of those goals have been reached. One of my goals was to hide one verse a week in my heart…I failed. I failed again. It’s easy to focus on our failures, but God can give us a new perspective. I didn’t hide one verse a week, not exactly 52 verses, but there are several more nuggets of God’s Word hidden away in my heart now, at the end of 2013. I’m thankful for the grace, perspective, encouragement, and strength of each one.
Truth is that if I were to make two categories of the goals I set for 2013– “Accomplished” and “Failed”–I failed more than I succeeded. This year I’m not going to set goals like I have in years past. It’s not that I’ve given up “pressing on,” but I feel called to focus on one thing above all others. Jesus said, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” I want to take Him at His Word and seek to remain in Him. I want to walk through each day of 2014 hand-in-hand with my Savior. I want to make seeking Him priority #1 each day…beginning today. I want to know Him like I’ve never known Him before. I want to depend on Him like my life depends on it–because it does. I want to draw near to others who are drawing near to Him. I can think of no greater goal, no higher ambition, no more lofty pursuit than remaining in Him. Lord, give me the strength and grace to remain in You.