How do you measure a year?

LAST THURSDAY night, during my time with the Pilgrim Men—the Bible study (or cell) group I've had the privilege of attending in church—we shared what made our year memorable. The question was, in effect, like this: what criteria do we employ to say that our year has been a success?

While Kuya Rico was facilitating the discussion, the song, “Seasons of Love,” came to mind (“How do you measure . . . measure a year?”). I like that song and can sing it with gusto, but I don't necessarily agree with it. But I digress.

Kuya Rico said—and I couldn't agree more—that we must measure the success of our year in terms of the degree to how we have become more like Christ. If the goal of the Christian is to be sanctified on earth, and if sanctification is becoming more like Christ, then the Christian must, by God's grace, do his all to be like his Lord in words, thoughts, and actions. Clearly, sanctification is a daily thing—we, dying to our sinful flesh, living for the glory of God alone—and so, to measure the success of our every day in 2014 through the lens of Scripture was sobering. In a sense, I was rebuked because I had other parameters for “a great year”: the number of books I've read, the new things I've learned, the degrees I've earned, and many more. Have I, indeed, become more like Christ when 2014 had ended?

What I heard from the men in Pilgrims was an encouragement to me: 2014 was a difficult year, but one that had brought them closer to Jesus. That God had been with them through their painful career choices, through their children's hospitalizations, through their marriages, brought to mind the comforting metaphor of God's hand guiding His children through the darkness, bringing them to the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. The suffering does end and never a second longer than is necessary. Only by looking back can God's child see the beautiful tapestry of God's orchestration: He is in control of all things, bringing glory to Himself and making His child more like Himself. God is prized above all, such that the Christian can echo Paul's words, “For me, to live is Christ.”

May we be more like our Lord this year. In that sense, I wish you, Dear Reader, much success.

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