January 10, 2019

Having Assurance in 2019

I’ve never been one to set specific New Year’s Resolutions, but I do enjoy the opportunity to re-emphasize the virtues and creeds that I desire to embody and live by in the new year. Verses 4 through 8 of 1 Corinthians wonderfully describe the greatest virtue of all which is love (otherwise known as charity).

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no account of wrongs.
Love takes no pleasure in evil, but rejoices in the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails...

At the beginning of 2018 (click here to watch my 2018 Recap video!), I decided to pick out one word that represented who I ultimately wanted to become: gracious. I used to emotionally beat myself up for the things that were out of my control or the things that I had failed to do. In the midst of my sorrow, I remembered that my Savior, Jesus Christ, is the embodiment of grace, so I chose to be more gracious with myself and not think too seriously about all the things I couldn't control or had failed to measure up to. As a result, I was able to encourage others to persevere by reminding them that despite their flaws and mistakes, they've made it so far on their individual life journeys.

Singling out one specific word for each new year is a tradition that I'd love to continue. Last December, God specifically placed the word, assurance, on my heart so I officially made it my word for the year of 2019. The main reason I settled on the word, "assurance," was because at the end of my past fall semester, my utter exhaustion unfortunately messed with my emotions, disrupted my spiritual disciplines, and almost convinced me that God had utterly abandoned me. The book of Psalms was a source of comfort to me during that time, primarily because holding onto the assurance of salvation was a constant theme throughout its verses, such as Psalm 43:5.

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

I also found relief from reading the book of Lamentations. I especially held onto the words of verses 21-23 in chapter 3.

But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

This year, I want to confidently hold onto the assurance that I am a chosen and beloved child of God whose rich mercies never fail. I desperately need to remember that Jesus’ grace is extended toward me and that the Holy Spirit's constant strength and comforting presence is surely within me, no matter what I do or where I go. As a believer, I hope that you also find great relief in these assured promises and hold onto them as you start off 2019 with renewed purpose and vigor.

Along with my chosen word for the year, I'd also like to concentrate on one simple yet profound prayer that I believe perfectly expresses the godly desires of my heart. Although its origins are popularly tied to St. Francis, the author of the prayer is unknown. Nevertheless, its words are beautifully consistent with Scripture and give glory to God in their intent. I hope you will join me in reciting this prayer throughout the year.

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace; 
Where there is hatred, let me sow love; 
Where there is injury, pardon; 
Where there is doubt, faith; 
Where there is despair, hope; 
Where there is darkness, light; 
And where there is sadness, joy. 

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console; 
To be understood, as to understand; 
To be loved, as to love; 
For it is in giving that we receive, 
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, 
And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life. 


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