On January 9, 2020, the “CBS Morning News,” reported that a new virus, related to SARS, was found to possibly be responsible for a mysterious pneumonia outbreak in China. The new “coronavirus” had been detected in 15 of 59 patients who were ill and was highly contagious. It was reported that the virus was spread through coughing or sneezing or by touching an infected person. Little did we know what that news meant for the world back then. That event, and the subsequent spread around the world, would not only dominate the year 2020, it will undoubtedly have great influence on and shape future events of the world, and our personal lives, either directly, or indirectly for a long time to come.
In each of our lives there are events that take place that directly or indirectly influence the way we live or the direction of our lives. As this new year begins we should take some time to look at ourselves and draw conclusions about this past year and about how the events in our lives could test our commitment and resolve, and influence the kind of year we will have in 2021.
Writing to the Corinthian church, the apostle Paul said In II Corinthians 13:5-11, “Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith. As you test yourselves, I hope you will recognize that we have not failed the test of apostolic authority. We pray to God that you will not do what is wrong by refusing our correction. I hope we won’t need to demonstrate our authority when we arrive. Do the right thing before we come—even if that makes it look like we have failed to demonstrate our authority. For we cannot oppose the truth, but must always stand for the truth. We are glad to seem weak if it helps show that you are actually strong. We pray that you will become mature. I am writing this to you before I come, hoping that I won’t need to deal severely with you when I do come. For I want to use the authority the Lord has given me to strengthen you, not to tear you down. Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words: Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you” After telling them that they should examine their lives and test themselves, Paul acknowledges that they will experience weakness, but that they must choose to stand the tests that will come. Notice then what he says to them as they go forward. “…our prayer is for your perfection.” Even in his farewell he says, “…aim for perfection.” Now that would be a pretty strong New Year’s resolution….to be perfect.
What do you suppose he meant, and what should we consider at the beginning of the year 2021? The word he used in this verse comes from the Greek word katartizo, which means “to restore to its former position.” It is always interesting to think back to the way things were. The older we get the better the past seems to get, and I’m sure our kids get tired of hearing about the “good old days.” It’s because in our lives we tend to forget the reality of where we have come from. 2020 was a year we will never forget, but are glad to see it go. When we are in the middle of a difficult time it is easy to forget how much we have been blessed. Over the past year, many people faced difficult financial circumstances. There were those who never dreamed that they would lose a job or foreclose on a mortgage, but it happened. Still others suffered physically or maybe lost a loved one. When we experience times like these it is very human for us to wish that things could go back to a better time in our life.
I believe our challenge at the beginning of a new year here at FCS, is that each of us individually would seek to be restored to that place when our commitment to Christ was evident in every part our life. As parents and faculty we need to recommit our lives to influencing our children and students to love and serve God in all they do. I believe that God would have us recall how He once stirred our hearts for the incredible mission we have here at our school of influencing young lives for Christ. If we all come to that same position in our lives, faculty, parents, and administrators, we will become more unified, more effective, and more committed to serve him in the coming year.
If during the past year you somehow lost your “perfection,” there is no better time than today, at the beginning of this New Year, to aim for it once again. Let’s join together in aiming for perfection this year. God will bless each of us separately and together if we do.
Robert Andrews, Ph.D.