The month of Elul is the last month on the Jewish calendar. It is often a time to reflect and take inventory of one’s life over the past year in preparation for the upcoming High Holy Days. One of the traditions associated with the month of Elul is the daily blowing of the shofar as a call to repentance.
Messianic congregations do in one way or another observe the fall feasts of Rosh Hashanah (Feast of Trumpets), Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) and Sukkot (Feast of Booths), but in most Bible believing churches this time of year goes by unnoticed. However, we should ask ourselves if there is something to be learned from this time of year. Perhaps a little introspection might strengthen our spiritual walk.
Yom Kippur loses its significance in a believer’s life because of the idea that we have a once and for all atonement. We say there is no longer the necessity for a yearly sacrifice and atonement for the people. Jesus paid it all. However, could it not be a time of reflection for that sacrifice and a time to assess our spiritual walk?
It is easy to become lackadaisical in daily life because grace has become cheap (for us) and a once saved always-saved mentality can quash a motivation for true service and sacrifice. Eternal security is no excuse for complacency in our relationship with God.
Even with grace, we will still give an accounting for our actions good and bad. Jesus says in Matthew 12:36, “But I tell you that on the Day of Judgment, men will give account for every careless word they speak.” (Tree of Life Version). Paul says in Romans 14:12, “So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God. (TLV). ” He also says, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Messiah, so that each one may receive what is due for the things he did while in the body—whether good or bad.” (TLV).
It is clear from Scripture that we could all benefit from a little introspection. We cannot undo what has been done, but we can make amends when necessary and commit to being better. Paul says in Ephesians 2:10 that we were created in Messiah Jesus to do good works. Along with the Holy Spirit, this takes commitment on our part.
The New Testament is full of commandments relating to our relationship with God and with each other. A time of reflection in our spiritual walk could highlight any shortcomings in the area of our interaction with God and others. Now is a good time for reflection as we end the Jewish year with the month of Elul and prepare for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. In gratitude for all HaShem has done for us, may the words of our mouths and mediation of our hearts be pleasing to Him (Psa 19:14). May we love as He has first loved us (1 John 4:19).