Day Twenty Eight: A Word to The Wise

Psalm 148
Proverbs 9:1-12
2 Peter 3:8-13

We are just two days away from 2018 and social media is full of (and has been for a while) sponsored ads for:
~ the diary/day planner/goal visualiser that will help you achieve all of your targets and desires;
~ the not-a-diet-but-a-step-to-better-health program that will enable you to wow your
co-workers and friends with a slimmer, better you;
~ early-bird discounts on motivational seminars and quasi-professional courses to help you get ahead of your peers – and stay there!
~ the best apps on the market for those lacking in willpower and accountability, featuring personal trainers and life coaches who will be with you every step of the way (virtual steps, of course) in helping you realise the change you’re after ….

more money,
a clear head,
better sleep,
a smaller waistline,
a graduation,
zen-like peace,
more patience,
a complete makeover,
a relationship do-over –

the prospect of a blank slate unleashes within many of us a frenzy of unfulfilled desires and hopeful expectations that the new year will be our best one yet –

that this time round our resolutions will be ticked off as realised;
and failures or mistakes or crises or general unpleasantries will just not feature – at all!

Deep down we know it’s folly;
that those “with our best interests” at heart are simply calculating the interest that they will earn as we buy the book, the app, the sweat gear that will lead to “our best self” or “our best year.”

In today’s readings, Wisdom warns us to leave the company of the simple and walk in the way of insight –
which begins with the Fear of the Lord
and leads into a life of (and from) knowing a Holy God (Proverbs 9:10).

Over the entirety of the Advent and Christmas season, we have received the invitation to base our lives on a different Message to those that the world constantly inundates us with:
a Message of sufficiency and abundance,
of affirmation and belonging,
of expansion and opening up,
of grace and salvation,
of forgiveness and compassion,
of hope, joy, and peace.

As we look forward, it’s not just to a new year;
but to the new heaven,
the new earth,
the home of righteousness which we have been promised (2 Peter 3:13).

It’s to a new self:
a God-imagined, God-made, God-breathed, God-given self;
rather than a better self, or
a self-made man- or woman-self.

Read again the beautiful words from Proverbs and receive God’s freely-given promise of provision for the year ahead (verses 4-6, The Message):

 Lady Wisdom goes to town, stands in a prominent place, and invites everyone within the sound of her voice:
“Are you confused about life, don’t know what’s going on?
Come with me, oh come, have dinner with me! I’ve prepared a wonderful spread—fresh-baked bread,  roast lamb, carefully selected wines.
Leave your impoverished confusion and live! Walk up the street to a life with meaning.”

As you reflect on plans or resolutions that you have been making for the year ahead, ~ is there any particular area of your life in which you are experiencing a sense of scarcity or confusion?
~ how do your goals/dreams contribute to a life with meaning?
~ what is the grace that God is offering you?