New Year’s Day: Protect Your Gift by Going Home a Different Way

New Year’s Day 2014
Read Matthew 2:11-18 and Mark 4:1-15

Whenever we learn a new skill or try to establish new habits, we need to practice the skill and do things to create real habits from our new behaviors. It’s different when we want to deepen our relationship with God.

  1. First of all, it is God, not I, who is initiating the relationship.
  2. Second, my part is to accept the new relationship.
  3. Third, the relationship is built on trusting, not trying. Whenever I am frustrated by my inability to “measure up” to what I think God wants me to be or do, I interpret my efforts and frustration as a warning buzzer that I am depending on my trying hard instead of trusting God. This is not to say that my attitudes and actions are unimportant but that I am becoming a new creation under the power and grace and timetable of God. My role is to surrender and submit.
  4. Finally, I cannot “practice” a new relationship but I can protect and nurture it. When God gives me a gift, I must care for it. When the seed is planted in my life, I can protect it from the influence of evil. When the Christ is born in me, I must nurture that new birth.

After they found Jesus, the wise men were “warned in a dream” to avoid Herod, and they went home another way. Joseph, too, was warned in a dream to flee to Egypt to save the child from Herod. When I surrender to God, I am open to surprises and called to places where I never expected to go.

Consider: What people or habits or situations in my life threaten the newborn gift God has given me? How can I protect and nurture what God has given me? Do my surrender and commitment to God include a willingness to go home a different way?  Let your only New Year’s resolutions be to walk and talk daily with your Gpd, to accept God’s gifts, and to seek God’s will.

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About Nancy Smith

Nancy Smith has 20 years’ experience in technical writing and management in software companies. She also has more than 20 years in Christian ministry as an educator, course designer, retreat leader, spiritual director, pastor, and coach. A United Methodist Deacon, Smith has her M.Div. from Boston University. She is a graduate of the Guild for Spiritual Guidance, and is certified in Spiritual Direction and Retreat Leadership from Boston College.
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