Happy New Year! Everyone greeted each other as the clock struck midnight, with smiles, kisses, hugs and well wishes. This is a typical scene that I see every New Year’s Day gathering. The transition to a New Year brings us mixed emotions of happiness, hope, and for some, fear of what lies ahead. After all none of us is exempted from facing another 365 days of uncertainty. That’s why for us, Christians, it is our faith in the Lord that gives us strength, hope and confidence to embark the brand new year. It is crucial for us to start our New Year right so we can end it right only by the grace of God. New Year’s resolution comes to our mind. We promise to take effort to make things better and even to cease unhealthy/destructive habits we had. It is also a great time for us to reflect on the things that transpired, good and bad, and evaluate what we learned from them and also thank God for His blessings, protection and provisions upon all of us throughout the past year. Let’s admit it, we all failed Him in so many ways last year but He, on the other hand, has remained faithful, loving and gracious to all of us. I personally had a lot of “resolutions” in mind last year that I did not accomplish and I failed big time, but thankfully the God that we serve is the God of second chances. He has been very patient with me and with all of us. It’s not too late to make things right in His sight.
As we are given a new opportunity to face another year by our good Lord, I pray that we consider improving more on the spiritual side of life. I mean there’s nothing wrong with working harder this year to obtain a new car, bigger house, upgrade your career/education, travel to places, purchase expensive stuff, so on and so forth, but I believe that God wants us to gain more than material/physical blessings as these are just the by-product of our obedience to Him. As He promised in Matthew 6:33, we must seek Him first and His Kingdom, He will then grant your needs and wants in life. Don’t you think this is the Best Way to Start our New Year- to prioritize Him and things that promotes His Kingdom? I do!
There are few points that He impressed in my heart as I ponder about this New Year… I hope you’ll find them encouraging as well. As we journey with a desire to be more fruitful in 2015, let’s take these 3 steps to heart and let us become N.E.W.!
N – Number our days (Psalm 90:12 “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”) When we evaluate our time properly, it builds wisdom in us. We will acknowledge that our time here on earth is too short and we have no control over it. Our life is like a flower that blooms today but withers tomorrow. Even if you live up to 150 years, it is still a tiny dot compare to eternity. When you number your days it means you will appreciate every second that you are alive and thank God for it and you will live to the fullest by His grace for His glory. It also means you don’t only spend your time but you invest it in the Kingdom of God!
E – Expect more from the Lord this year! (Ephesians 3:20 “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we all ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.”) This year, believe that God has bigger things in store for you, but it will be according to His power that enables you. As we expect greater things from Him, I also think God expects us to do greater things for Him as well. It is not just about our personal gain but being able to bless Him more and others. Instead of asking for more, let’s give more this year – more time to help those people who are in need, be more active in church activities in which your God-given talents can be used to minister to people to ease their burdens. We cannot do these things on our own. We must humbly acknowledge that we are inadequate without Him and apart from Him we are nothing! We are created to serve, honour and worship Him. We can exercise these not just in the four corners of our church but also outside where we can be His hands and feet to reach out to so many people who are forsaken and in desperate conditions. Allow Christ to demonstrate His limitless power in you. Be a blessing to His Name. Be a blessing to others and surely blessings will overflow in your life. Claim it, believe and receive it this year!
W – Witness to others what Christ has done for you! (Matthew 28:19 “Go, therefore and make disciples…”). This is a commandment that determines how deep you are serving the Lord. This is a very significant instruction by Jesus Himself to us that we often ignore because “we have better things to do”. We are preoccupied with our busyness that we put this duty at the bottom of our list as Christians. How can we do this? Fall in love with Him and His Word! Spend more time in prayer, meditation and study of His Word. We cannot give something that we don’t have. God’s Word should be in our minds and hearts so that we’ll be confident to share it to other people. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you and to empower you to be His mouthpiece and to change you into the person that He wants you to be, in whom the character of Christ is seen so that you will be a good example to everyone. Have compassion to unbelievers. Don’t condemn or judge them. Remember you were once living like them- ignorant of the Truth, hell-bound and living in sin, but God has shown His mercy upon you and used someone to bring you from darkness into His marvelous light! We are called to be a His witness, an Ambassador of His Kingdom, an agent of His salvation! Have you witnessed to anyone yet? It’s not too late to start, and pray to God for even just one soul that you may lead to Christ this year. A true disciple of Jesus Christ makes disciples too!
Are you ready to be N.E.W? Let’s encourage and inspire one another as a church to make each day of 2015 count not just by making it a happy one but a very fruitful, blessed and spirit-filled one, by God’s power and grace all for His honour and praise!