Today we continue to bless his holy name as we step into 2020. Much celebration for his birth has taken place. Many promises have been made to others as well as to ourselves about how much better we are going to be to ourselves as well as others.

All of that is great, but the one thing that we must remember is that the one who we just celebrated should be the center of whatever we do as we move forward. We must continue to praise him and let him rule our lives. We celebrated a servant, and as we move into 2020 let us do so with a servant’s heart and mind.

The one that we celebrated came to serve us and expects us to do the same for those around us. He came to change our garment. The new outfit is LOVE. It is a basic all-purpose garment and will fit any occasion. Never be caught without it.

We all claimed and still claim that the season was about Jesus. If that is the case, let us keep him close to our hearts. So as we work on our New Year’s resolutions, a spiritual checkup is now in order.

The Word tells us to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30) For this check-up we must honestly answer a few very intimate questions about ourselves and our personal relationship with the Lord. These questions must be answered before we embark into the New Year expecting godly success at the end.

Do I love God with all my heart because he first loved me? Which is stronger, my desire for earthly gain or the treasures that are mine in Christ?

Do I listen to God telling me who I am, or do I listen to who people say I am? Am I moving away from my self-centered desires or am I moving to things that will bring eternal joy, peace and love? Am I becoming more compassionate, kind, humble, gentle and patient?

Since this spiritual journey is progressive, all of these changes will not happen overnight, but are we making progress in that direction? We believe in progressive sanctification so this is not instant change.

Am I willing to be seen as weak so that God can show his strength on my behalf? Am I relying on his grace so that I can be strong in his spirit?

Do I love God with all my mind? Do I focus my relationship on his son or do I let my mind wander wherever it wants to go, and I land myself in places where I should not be? Do my thoughts lead to problems or solutions? Do my thoughts lead to unity or division? Do my thoughts lead to forgiveness or revenge?

Since the reason for the season is about Christ then his message should be allowed to dwell among us richly with wisdom. He will equip us to build each other up as we become spiritually fit and useful to him.

If after the spiritual self-checkup, we find ourselves lacking in many areas, how do we manage to get spiritually fit? The answer is easy but the solution takes wisdom. We must feed on his word and exercise our mind on faith.

As we move into the New Year, we must realize that it takes a special diet and exercise. When we take this check-up, only one person — and that is self — can answer each question for us. It is as if we are taking a physical exam. The individual’s body, mind and soul have to be the areas tested.

The last part of the spiritual checkup is, do you love your neighbor as yourself?

We celebrated his coming, now let us celebrate his purpose — by putting the true reason he was sent by the Father into action. The spiritual checkup should shed some insight into what has to be done for the 2020 year to be one filled with miracles and blessings for ourselves as well as those around us. If the individual can check off the last step, he/she is ready for the launching.

Do you love your neighbor as yourself?

If we have moved into the New Year with the same 2019 baggage, at the end of 2020 we will be pondering what went wrong just as we are doing at the end of 2019. Each day we must put on the new garment picked out by God for us. That garment is LOVE.

Willie Mae Samuel is a playwright and a director in Rome. She is the founder and director of the African American Connection of the Performing Arts Inc.

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