Yesterday was a great day, I got up early, took the dogs on a 2 mile walk with nothing distracting me (other than their potty breaks) from prayer. I fasted breakfast (always has been the easiest meal to miss) and completed the first day of the new Bible plan. I served my bride, cleaned the kitchen, made dinner, recleaned the kitchen, vacuumed, organized Christmas storage. I don’t think I even argued with my daughter, Abby, once. It was a glorious day. Then I woke up this morning… I decided it would be a good day to sleep in and play phone games instead of getting up and working out, which also meant I was not as motivated for the discipline of fasting, plus there were leftover doughnuts from church. They were getting stale, but still good, especially when dunked in chai tea, so why let a good doughnut go to waste? Then, if one is good, two is better, after all I MUST finish them before they get too stale. Plans for evenings with friends this week fell through. Work demands started percolating within my mind, even though I am off; I know others are not, so I sent a few emails and then lost over an hour of good family time, which is fast ending as schools starts on Thursday. We discussed the Bible reading which was a plus, however it was more around answering questions, “who was left to hurt Cain?” and “who was Seth and who did he marry?” Those were fruitful discussions but not quite the depth of discussion I had dreamed about. So, what am I to do with these feelings of failure just 2 days into the new year?

The obvious and correct answer is to take it to Jesus. He knows how I feel and is a man well acquainted with suffering and temptation. He went through so much more than I ever have so He, though God, is also fully man. I wonder if Jesus made New Year’s resolutions, not that He needed to improve but I could see Him saying, this year I will offer clearer parables to my followers, do one more miracle to bless the lonely widow, or even show my Fathers’ glory through something even more dramatic than calming the storm drawing more people to deeper relationship with Him. If He had made those resolutions, they would be limited by those around Him. Peter and John would continue to bicker like younger and older brothers do therefore missing the point that Jesus was making about loving each other. The widow could mistake the miracle to “good doctor care”. People would follow Him to witness the power without ever tapping into it to better their belief and faith. I should recognize (though it is hard) that my failures are just my sin nature getting the better of me. I need to better reconcile (take account) that I am NOT my sin nature, and I am dead to that. All the lies it tells me are just that, lies. Things meant to take my eyes of my loving Father, and gracious Savior and power giving Spirit that dwell within me. Yes, I was a sinner. Now I am called a Saint who sins. There is a HUGE difference. My identity is not in how well I fast, pray, exercise, witness the gospel, study & memorize His word, my identity is in the completed works of Jesus on the cross. I am JUSTIFIED, (just as if I’d never sinned), and I am BEING SANCTIFIED, the process of being more like Christ, which continues until the day I die. I simply need to recognize and act according to that fact. Jesus has me right where He wants me, doing the things I need to do to further my sanctification and walk forward in His grace.  Tomorrow is a new day, but we don’t even have to wait that long, we can choose to act according to the next step along our journey of faith. Or we can choose to wallow in missteps and give up all the gains that could be made the rest of this day. I choose to move forward, starting now.

I pray that this has been an encouragement to you along your walk growing closer to Jesus every day.