Welcome to the 2023 school year! I hope that the holidays have had moments of refreshment and joy, and that you can approach the coming year with enthusiasm and intrigue! As I took time to reflect upon last year, and gave thought to what lies ahead, I have been challenged to bring greater focus to areas of my life. Into what activities do I invest my time? Who influences my behaviour and attitudes? Where do I place value and worth? These are age old questions, but well worth considering.
I enjoyed reading a great book by John Mark Comer, called ‘Live No Lies’, where one of the themes that he explores is the idea of how our thoughts influence our actions, which in turn shape our habits. He quotes Cornelius Plantinga, who says, “sow a thought, and reap a deed; sow a deed, and reap another deed; sow some deeds, and reap a habit; sow some habits, and reap a character; sow a character and reap two thoughts. The new thoughts then pursue careers of their own”. This sounds similar to the teaching of Jesus who said, ‘for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also’ (Matt 6:21).
It reinforces the understanding that, the things into which we invest our time and resources will bear fruit that then perpetuate ongoing investment until they take on a life of their own! Before we know it, habitual behaviour takes hold. We see this in the realms of sport and fitness, mathematics and reading, and so on. The same is true of one’s faith.
The Apostle Peter writes, in 2 Peter 1:5-8,
‘For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.’
As we embark upon another school year, what a great opportunity we have to realign our focus onto the things of Jesus. Make every effort to add to your faith! How might we do this? Read the Bible! Actively participate in a community of faith! Meet with like-minded individuals who can inspire, keep you accountable, motivate you, listen to you! We often do these things when it comes to fitness, finance, lifestyle goals. We can also apply the same mindset to growing and nurturing our faith.
The greater the investment we place into our faith, the greater the growth we will see. So, as the year begins, how might you ‘make every effort to add to your faith'? My prayer is that you will encounter the love of Christ, that your faith in Jesus will grow, such that the behaviours and actions that input into that growth will not be rote habit or arduous task, but rather a passionate joy that brings your soul nourishment and life.
Peace to you and yours.
Director of Faith Formation and Wellbeing