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20/20 Vision: Purpose + Joy

Anyone else equal parts exhausted and excited at this time of the year? Some of us are navigating busy holiday schedules, while others may be looking forward to ringing in the new year already. When thinking ahead to 2020 and our purpose, it may be enticing to buy into the worldly idea of becoming our “best self”. To become our best selves, there are personality tests, self-improvement classes, and a plethora of self-help books at Barnes and Noble. While some of those may encourage some helpful behavior, it must be remembered that you and I are not called to be a better version of our human selves; we are called to be like Christ (Romans 8:29, 2 Corinthians 3:18, 1 John 3:2). While habits of the world offer us no eternal benefits, time spent seeking the Lord will build eternal wealth. Consistent prayer and time in the Word will bring us peace, guidance, strength, and a renewed sense of purpose.

As we reflect on the birth of our Savior, take a moment to focus on your true purpose as a child of the King. As humans our natural tendency is to find refuge and a purpose in worldly things, but Matthew 16:25 says,

“For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”

Once we die to our humanity and accept Him as Lord, we are freed from trying to “be enough” or “do enough”. Thank God! We are encouraged of this in Colossians 2:9-10,

“For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness.”

Take a moment to rest in that this holiday season. YOU are free in Jesus. You are complete, and equipped, in Him alone. Maybe you are stretched thin in too many directions, and He is calling you to minimize your priorities. Maybe you are a tired mother, doing your absolute best but worn out from the holiday chaos. A student, working jobs and taking classes, burning the candle at both ends. Maybe you are facing a jobless New Year, a strained relationship, or loneliness. You can rest knowing He will work all things for His glory, and for your eternal well-being (Romans 8:28).

As you rest in your purpose as a child of the King, hold onto the joy and peace that is yours to take. The world offers us faint bursts of happiness, while the Lord bestows upon us true, everlasting joy that we can choose daily. The joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10), and we have been “clothed with joy” (Psalm 30:11). We also see this echoed in David’s statements after he spent time with the Lord, ‘Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in Him! (Psalm 34:8). While you rest in your true purpose this holiday season, also take up your joy because He has rescued you.

Pray with me as we reflect on the blessing of our gracious Savior’s birth, and prepare to step purposefully into a new year.

Lord, we come to you as willing servants, ready to be used by you this week. You know the challenges, sadness, and disappointments we have faced this year, and we pray your hand upon those. We thank you for the birth of Jesus, and the salvation and hope You have brought to a wicked world. We pray that you will guide us, equip us, and open our eyes to live a purposeful year for your glory. You are worthy of our praises yesterday, today, and for eternity. In Your powerful, merciful name, we pray. Amen.

Katlynn Hutchcraft is a follower of Jesus, wife, dental hygienist, graduate student and instructor at Southern Illinois University. She and her husband are members of Immanuel Baptist Church in Benton, where they serve in the children’s ministry and in the young married couples’ class. She is passionate about education and increasing access to healthcare, creating community for women in Southern Illinois, and spending quality time with family and friends. In her spare time, she enjoys a good book and coffee, decorating, and thrift shopping.

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