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Faith: The three Rs offer a soul-lifting prescription for 2022

Columnist Nararyn Mitra talks about the three Rs to offer a soul-lifting prescription for 2022.

The annual ritual of making the new year count is especially applicable to the first few weeks of each year.
Changes are sought and steps taken to get out of the rut and bring new meaning to our everyday living.
Sadly, for many the attitude is to subscribe again and again to the usual mundane routine because “the show must go on.”
In order to even bring some variety to life (and to spice it up spiritually), I suggest starting 2022 by following the three Rs:
• Remember constantly a creator-God who is unchanging (Psalm 90:1-12; Hebrews 13:8). All through the Bible, the word of God teaches that the God of the Bible is unchanging. He does not need to turn the pages of a calendar every 12 months.
When steam locomotives were first introduced in the U.S., native Americans started to flee from the “mightiest bull.” Today, when space travel is being offered for a hefty ticket price, a new locomotive, diesel or electric, would hardly be considered newsworthy. How times have changed.
You and I change. Our spouses and children change, as do philosophers and philosophies.
Man himself is a creature of change. Therefore, if man’s soul does not have an eternal mooring, it drifts like an anchorless ship on a storm-tossed sea.
Thankfully, in the person of Jesus we have a saviour who never changes. The hymn writer William Monk aptly captured a vision of this unchanging God when he penned, “Change and decay in all around I see — O Thou who changest not, abide with me.”
If our faith is centred on this unchanging God and his son Jesus, we can enter this year with confidence and we can anticipate his presence all through the year ahead.
• Recognize the power of a godly goal. This is the usual time of the year when many people set goals for the year by making resolutions.
Two mistakes commonly made in setting goals are putting them so high that they can never be realized and setting our sights too low.
These same pitfalls hinder growth in our spiritual lives, as well. For example, some aspire to be like Jesus. But Christ-likeness is a lofty ideal and we fall so far short of it that, at times, we give up.
So, what do we do? We lower the standard and appear to be no different than a morally upright unbeliever. Yet, as believers, our goal holds the promise of future attainment, even though it will not be fully realized until we get to heaven. This keeps us pressing on as long as we live and prevents us from deceiving ourselves and bragging, “I have arrived, I no longer sin” (cf.1 John 1:8).
During this first month of 2022, let us, on the other hand, exclaim with Paul, “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God …” (Philippians 3:14).
• Recommit yourself to the service of God. The story is told of a famous sculptor in Denmark who was asked which of his statutes was the greatest. Without pausing, he replied, “The next one.”
Evidently, he was never content to rest upon his past laurels, but sought continual improvement. His constant hope and driving desire were that his most noble achievement was still ahead.
That’s the way we should feel about our service for God. Regardless of past accomplishments, we recognize it is always possible to do a better job wherever we are placed.
Rejecting the assumption that we have “arrived” because of a recent success, we should always determine to make the next one our highest achievement for the Lord. For some of us, 2021 was a year of success in business or work and a year of spiritual victories.
For others, the curse of the pandemic lulled us into complacency and great loss.
To remain on an even keel, it is important to maintain an attitude like the one Paul expressed in Philippians 3:13, “I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead I press on …”
We should be determined to excel for God so we will always see our best work as still ahead. After all, the room for improvement is the largest room in the world.

Narayan Mitra is a volunteer chaplain at Thompson Rivers University. His email address is KTW welcomes submissions to its Faith page. Columns should be between 600 and 800 words in length and can be emailed to editor@kamloops Please include a very short bio and a photo.