As we begin this new year 2014, there’s so much to look foward to as the fulfillment of God’s plan unfolds in our lives. We may not have it all clear what He intends, but one thing is certain, “It is the Father’s good pleasure to give us the Kingdom”, and His plan for each of us is to our best good.
The beginning of the year is a season when there’s renewed hope that the year could turn out better than the last one. We make renewed commitment to the courses we believe in and drop some baggage that could be frustrating our progress.
While a season like this presents good motivation for reflection in a general sense, there’s something each of us needs to give heed to. There’s the corporate season and there’s the individual season. There’s what seems to be happening to everybody around you (corporate season) and there’s also where you are at as an individual (individual season). I have noted with concern even from my own life that the corporate season has such a domineering effect that the risk of the individual season being overshadowed and lost is ever so real.
It is important as each of us reflects on plans for the starting year not to do so in relation to others. We all have one reference point, Jesus Christ. How much of Him is being formed in us?
Consider fruit trees:
The beginning of the year is a hot season in Nairobi, but also brings with it the season of mangoes. I had the chance of driving from Nyeri to Nairobi yesterday and as one passes Makuyu area, the roadside was lined up with the most succulent mangoes that it was irresistible to stop and sample some. One month ago, the plums were at their peak and three months down the line, the grocery stores will be full of pears.
When plums were being harvested in December, the mangoes were still green on their way to ripening this month and February. Right now as we enjoy the mangoes, the pears are still growing and the beans starting to flower. This goes on through the various seasons of the year.
There’ll be the corporate season (wet, hot, cold, dry…) and the individual season (flowering, ripening, harvesting…).The effect of the corporate season is different on the different species, but all towards producing mature fruit that can be eaten.
How then do we apply this seasons analogy to our relationship with the Lord? There’re broadly two cartegories of people in relation to walk with the Lord Jesus Christ; those that have believed in Him and those not yet believers.
The later group can be likened to a ground where the fruit seed is yet to be planted, or has been planted, but for one reason or other the seed did not survive and need to be planted again. The seasons here have to do with the preparation of the heart to receive the seed of God that comes in believing in Jesus Christ.
John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
The other group, believers can be likened to the soil where the seed is already planted, but at diferent stages of growth for different individuals. For some, the seed, Christ is barelly germinated;for others the tree is germinated but not yet flowering; for others the tree is mature and is already flowering; for others, the fruits maturing and can be enjoyed and the seeds thereof used for planting on other grounds.
For both groups, the end view of the gardener is production of fruit. for the first group unbeliever, first things first; the seed has to be planted. For the second group, the focus is growth of the tree towards production of fruit (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, (Gal 5:22)).
The Apostle paul wrote to the Galatians (4:19): “…I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,”
This is the end view of God in each of our lives and He causes all things (including seasons) to work in our lives towards this end.
We err when we look at our brethren who are in the harvest season and wish to jump there or feel condemned that we are not yet producing visible fruit. We ought rather to allow whatever season we are in do it’s work in us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the author and the finisher of our faith.
My encouragement to each of us as we begin this year is to discern and embrace your season per time and let Christ be fully formed in you.
A Christ centered 2014 to you.