As the year ends, it’s a spiritually healthy practice for us to spend time before the Lord for prayerful reflection, giving thanks, and offering fresh consecration to Him. Besides thanking the Lord, item after item, for the many outward and material ways He’s met our needs, we can also ponder on and thank Him even more for the wonderful inward and eternal matters we have enjoyed as believers. These are the most real and lasting blessings in the universe, seen not with our physical eyes but with the inward eyes of our heart.
When we have a special time with the Lord like this, beyond our usual daily time with Him, our hearts become open and tender, and we give Him another opportunity to speak to us. Below are just a few things we can prayerfully consider to enrich our thanking and praising the Lord Jesus at the end of this year.
1. Eternal life
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 6:23 tells us that the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Because we have believed into Jesus Christ, we have eternal life! What is this eternal life? More than simply an everlasting life, this life is the very divine, uncreated life of God, which we received through being born again in our spirit by the Spirit. Now, we human beings share the divine life of God Himself! The perfect, rich, glorious, full, pure, unlimited life of God is now our life, for us to enjoy and live by every day.
This wonderful, unseen gift operates in us toward a particular goal, as note 3 on this verse in the New Testament Recovery Version explains:
“Eternal life is the very life of the Triune God Himself. This life has been imparted into us on the basis of our having been justified by God, and it is now spreading throughout our being through sanctification and transformation. This will result in our being conformed to the Lord’s image and our being brought into the Lord’s glory, that we may be made suitable to have a part in the manifestation of His glory (Col. 3:4).”
This is the eternal life we possess! It energizes us, spreads in us, and transforms us from within. Let’s take the time to muse on and thank God for giving us His eternal life, which will do so much to fulfill God’s purpose in us. We can thank Him for all the times we’ve enjoyed His divine life this year. We’ve been satisfied with Him as the living water, fed by Him in His Word, and experienced His riches by calling on His name. We can pray to Him for more enjoyment of and growth in His life in the new year.
2. Jesus Christ, whom having not seen, we love
“Whom having not seen, you love; into whom though not seeing Him at present, yet believing, you exult with joy that is unspeakable and full of glory.” 1 Peter 1:8
None of us today has ever seen Jesus with our physical eyes, yet we love Him. We love and believe in someone we’ve never seen, and we’re filled with unspeakable joy as a result! How can this be? Just as the apostle Paul did in Galatians 1:15-16, each of us can testify that it is nothing of us but all of God, who was pleased to reveal His Son in us. We’ve seen an inward vision of the beauty, worth, and loveliness of Jesus. As revealed to us in God’s Word, Jesus Christ is truly incomparable. He is the true God, with divinity, and a real man, with perfect humanity; He is holy and righteous, yet compassionate and loving; He is the sinless One, yet He can sympathize with us in our weakness; He is strong and bold, yet meek and humble; He is the One who did the Father’s will absolutely, died for us, and now lives in us to be our life! We can’t help but be attracted to Him and love Him.
We can thank the Lord and praise Him for the times this year that our inner eyes have beheld the Lord Jesus in our spirit and in His Word. The more we see Him, the more we love Him. He is the most loveable One in the universe. As we gaze on the One most worthy of all our love, we can thank Him for attracting us to Himself, let Him constrain us with His love, and offer Him our love again.
3. We will be like Him
“Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not yet been manifested what we will be. We know that if He is manifested, we will be like Him because we will see Him even as He is.” 1 John 3:2
Note 1 on this verse helps us understand what has not yet been manifested:
“Since we are the children of God, we will be like Him in the maturity of life when He is manifested. To be like Him is ‘what we will be.’ This has not yet been manifested. This indicates that the children of God have a great future with a more splendid blessing: we will not only have the divine nature but will also bear the divine likeness. To partake of the divine nature is already a great blessing and enjoyment, yet to be like God, bearing His likeness, will be a greater blessing and enjoyment.”
God’s Word tells us an amazing fact: we fallen and redeemed sinners will one day be like Him, not by anything of ourselves but by reaching maturity in His divine life. As we receive and enjoy more of the eternal, divine life and nature, little by little, this life is transforming us into the image of Christ. Through this, God gains the desire of His heart to have many sons, born with His life, conformed to the image of His Firstborn Son, Jesus Christ, to express Him.
Although we don’t usually sense we are growing in the divine life or recognize our spiritual progress, by looking back we can realize how far we’ve come. At the end of this year, we can consider the incremental, normal work the Lord has done within us and praise Him for His faithfulness to gradually bring us on to maturity in His life!
Our response to the Lord
The Lord has had such mercy on all of us this past year! As we spend time reflecting on these things and thanking the Lord for all He’s done for us and all He is to us, let us also offer new prayers of consecration to Him:
“Lord Jesus, I give myself to You for the coming year to live by and partake of more of Your eternal life so that You can grow in me. Lord, I love You. You are worthy of all my love. I give all my heart to You. And Lord, I give myself to You to cooperate with Your divine life in me so You can conform my whole being to Your image and God’s purpose can be fulfilled.”