As Christians, we should constantly seek to become more like Jesus. While this is an everyday aspiration, looking ahead to a new year gives us an opportunity to commit ourselves again to the call of discipleship. In light of our divided culture — one in which social media has given everyone a platform — many of us feel a burden to cultivate unity. More than ever, we’re zealous about bringing divine justice and mercy to earth, yet most of the problems we see manifest in society are issues of the heart. Our Savior understands this, and He loved us enough to provide the solution. Instead of wagging our finger at the evil we see in the world, He beckons us to examine our souls and to repent before sin takes root in our own lives. For example, while everyone agrees that human trafficking is one of the worst evils ever perpetrated against humanity, its beginning is actually lust. Different from sexual desire, lust means using or objectifying someone for our own pleasure, and when acted upon, it gives rise to great atrocities. The same is true with anger, which is at the core of violence, racism, and hatred. Jesus tells us that if we’ve been mad enough to cuss at someone, we may as well have murdered them. While this is shocking to consider, it points to the truth that only by dealing with the sin that lurks within can we ever hope to see a shift in society without.
My friend, never in history has personal integrity been more important than it is today. In a culture that loves to point fingers and cast blame, you live by a different standard. As you ask Jesus to search your heart, He cuts down sin at its root before it bears any destructive fruit. While people around you stand on a soapbox of self-righteousness, you can walk humbly and uprightly with God and let your life preach a sermon without words. By becoming the change you want to see in the world, your devotion to discipleship has the power to transform the lives of others!