Generally, traditionally, I go to Starbucks at some point between Christmas and New Years. I purchase a peppermint mocha that costs about $5 - thankfully I almost always have gift cards. I take a seat and begin to reflect on the year behind and write goals for the year ahead. And I think. And dream. And plan. All the while only accomplishing about 2% of my goals per year.
All that to say, this year is different. I am sitting in my comfort zone. My neighborhood coffee shop. My "Cheers," so to speak.
I am taking up a table made for 6 - and I don't care (okay, I feel a little bad).
I am drinking regular* black coffee.
I am watching the snow fall.
And I think to myself. There's nothing I really want to accomplish this year.
I just want to know the Bible better and love Jesus more.
How do you begin to quantify that? How?
How do you know if you are farther along than you were the year before?
Maybe it's just better thinking. A better view or perspective of the gospel.
Because this year I have come to realization that I need the gospel more than I ever have before.
I need it because I cannot begin to live rightly - to live a more sanctified life - to live a Jesus-like, led life without it.
Truth is: the way I live my everyday life is in direct correlation to what I believe about Jesus and the gospel. Do I believe I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives within me? (Galatians 2:20)
Because if I really believed this I would be more giving. Less prideful. More patient and kind. Less brash and boastful. More confident to share the GOOD NEWS. Less afraid. And the list goes on and on and on.
I love what Jerry Bridges says in his forward to Kevin DeYoung's book, The Good News We Almost Forgot: "Strange as it may seem, Christians need the gospel as much as unbelievers do...We need the gospel to keep us from lapsing into a performance mind-set in our day-to-day relationship with God. We need the gospel to remind us that we are still practicing sinners whose only hope for both eternal life and today's blessings from God are 'Jesus' blood and righteousness.'"
And so, I find comfort in Answer 5 of the Heidelberg Confession: "I have a natural tendency to hate God and my neighbor."
Even still. I am a practicing sinner in need of Savior.
All that rambling to say, in 2013 I wanted to live a gospel driven-centered life. I want that to be the measuring stick. I mean there are some things I want to do - like work on certain graphic design projects and eat more than popcorn for dinner. But ultimately, those things need to be tested against the gospel too.
This isn't what I expected to write when I walked in to Thirty-Thirty today. But really the gospel is THE goal. From now until eternity.
* Just don't tell the coffee snobs at Thirty-Thirty that it's "regular."