Title: Once Again A City On A Hill
Date: January 5, 2021
I recently read a comic strip that posed the question, “What is a New Year’s resolution?” The response: “It’s a one-week to-do list that comes every year on January first!” I had to laugh. How true is that? We all look to improve areas in our lives and make changes whether big or small. It’s always a good feeling to start with a clean slate, right?
However, what does our heavenly Father have to say about this to-do list? On what biblical perspective can we meditate as we begin this challenging new year ahead? Is it just me or do even resolutions seem, well, different?
This week we focus on critical and historic decisions that will be made in Georgia and Washington, DC. These results will impact our nation and the world. Like many of you, I was praying for the outcome of this week’s results when the words “a city on a hill” came to mind. I wondered what the Lord was trying to show me, and I was led to Matthew 5:14-16:
You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on a stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven.
Jesus’ implication that we are the light of the world is a tremendous compliment! And it’s not because of who we are, but because whose we are! I believe that belonging to Jesus comes with much responsibility. Have I been taking this calling seriously? Has my light been shining for ALL men to see? Jesus tells us that shining our light is for the ultimate result of bringing glory to God! I love that!
Some of my past resolutions have been so worldly-minded. I’m embarrassed to even admit how silly they were. It seems more often than not they had to do with weight loss, becoming more organized or becoming less of a procrastinator. The resolutions would never even last past week two! Not that these aspirations are pointless, however in light of this past year, they seem so trivial. There is such a deeper sense of urgency. I need something more.
My to-do list this year is being completely prompted by the Holy Spirit. I want there to be everlasting fruit that doesn’t end in a week or two. Rather than my resolution becoming a distant memory, I desire the lasting joy that comes with fulfilling my calling on this earth. I want to forget the pointless things of this world which never last, and spend my energy and time wisely. I pray that the Lord will give me opportunities to fulfill my resolutions. There’s no time to worry, fret or live in fear. It’s time to put my faith to work and share more of the reason that I have hope. Did you ever stop and think that we as children of God hold the only answer to humanity’s greatest needs? That is a grand calling! I see so clearly now there is no better way to live. I’m sure you agree.
Sadly, many are starting this year with an undeniable cloud of darkness over them which leads to complete hopelessness. Jesus said in John 8:20 that “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness.” What a comforting statement. It is our assurance that we can always remain hopeful. Darkness represents confusion and is best described as not being able to see clearly. However, our precious Father is always our way out of confusion and darkness. He is the “city on a hill” that will never be destroyed or taken from us!
The Lord has chosen us to live in these times. What an honor He has given us to represent Him in these difficult days! This is what sets us believers apart. We have a divine purpose which always leaves room for hope and a reason to testify to His love, joy and peace! He must really trust us to give us such a calling!
So regardless of this week’s political outcome, are we going to live in a spirit of fear and doubt? Is our focus going to be on our testing circumstances? Are we going to spend needless time worrying about the future, covid or the government? The Lord knew all about these days before the beginning of time. The question is: Are we going to truly live out our significant calling, a life dedicated to reaching the lost? I believe there’s never been a time when there have been so many lost and hurting people. We can be ambassadors of Christ in a world that desperately needs to know Him, and we can always strive for righteousness and freedom as we deal with people.
You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance.
I have seen you in the sanctuary and behold your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live and in your name I will lift up my hands.
Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
It is so interesting and timely that a very wise former president of our United States of America, Ronald Reagan, delivered these words in his farewell speech in 1989. He shared his vision of a “shining city upon a hill” as a reference to our country.
“In my mind it (the USA) is a tall proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, and God blessed. For we must consider that we shall be as a city on a hill. The eyes of all the people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God and this work we have undertaken and so caused Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword throughout the world.”
Folks, let us earnestly pray that God will not withdraw His help from us at this time in history. May we pray our nation will once again be a beacon of hope, shining His light. May it begin with us here in this moment. Pray that our country may still stand tall, even in the midst of its darkest days, and may His powerful light overtake the darkness. May God see these glimmers of light from sea to shining sea as reflections of His children’s love and reverence for Him. Let us pray that through His divine mercy He will boldly be declaring us a “city on a hill” once again! May our torch burn brightly once more as we forever remain one nation under God! Amen!
Delighting in safe pasture,