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     Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if it serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.  Josh. 24:14-15

Dear heavenly Father, as I sit here sipping fresh coffee and watching flames dance in the fireplace, it’s the first day of 2014. Tons of confetti covers the streets of Manhattan, and gratitude fills my heart.

I’m thankful to begin this year boasting in Christ’s work, and not trusting in my anything. I’m thankful that you continue to open the eyes of my heart to the riches of the gospel of your grace. May that be the main theme of 2014—groaning and growing in your grace.

Because the gospel is true, I don’t begin this year with a list of New Year’s resolutions—promises of what I’m going to do for you. Rather, I begin this year abandoning myself to everything Jesus has done for us. Jesus is the promise keeper, not us—the Second Adam and our substitute, not our moral example and second chance.

That’s what makes serving you no mere desirable thing; it’s the greatest privilege conceivable and the purest delight imaginable. For Jesus is the greater Joshua—the One who didn’t just take us safely across the Jordan River, but securely, into your eternal delight. No other savior died for us that we might find life in him. No other god sacrificially and gladly serves us, that we might gratefully and freely serve him.

Because of Jesus, throwing away my idols feels less like a painful sacrifice and more like a liberating dance. For all my “empty nothings” have ever given me is momentary pleasure and lasting regrets. Remind me of this, all year long, when I’m tempted to think otherwise.

Father, may this be a year of considering our lives worth nothing to us, if only we may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given us—the task of testifying (by word and deed) to the gospel of your grace (Acts 20:24). So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ triumphant and loving name.

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Scotty Smith

Scotty Smith is the founding pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee. You can follow him on Twitter.

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