2 Timothy 4:6-8 (This is Paul speaking at the end of his life)
6For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at
7I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course,
I have kept the faith:
8Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
Is this what we would say at the end of our life? I cannot, I would be lieing. I've noticed a common answer is "I would hope.." or "I sure hope so...". When you ask someone if they will go to heaven when they die, and they say "I hope so...", that pretty much tells us they are not. You will KNOW your eternal destination if you have accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior, according to the bible! So why would that answer be any better, from a Christian, when they're asked if they served the Lord to the best of their ability?
The new year is a time of reflection:
1 Corinthians 9:24-25
24Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
25And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
How well did we run in 2008? In a race, only one person received the prize, but have you noticed how hard everyone runs, in order to attain that prize? We should all be striving to be our best for Christ in this race of life. Each year, we should make progress in our spiritual walks. Did you make progress in your relationship with Christ last year? Paul wanted to finish his race well, do you?
Satan is going to do whatever it is he can that will distract you- and he knows exactly what that is going to work best to distract you from putting your focus on God, and not the world around you- your world.
7Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?
Has there been in a time in your life when you were closer to God than you are now? Why is that? Sure, circumstances change, and things might be different, but that does not mean you are further away from God because circumstances are different. If you are going through trials right now, that does not mean you are further away from God because of the trials, it might mean that God is bringing you through a "growth spurt", bringing you into a deeper, intimate relationship with Him.
However, it is possible some of you reading are not as close to God as you might once have been, or as close as you could be? What is Satan doing to prevent you from accomplishing that closeness? Is he telling you that you don't have enough "time" to read your bible in a year because you work full time outside the home, have kids to take care of, and a home budget to keep balanced? Since you don't have "time" to read your bible in a year, is he telling you it's okay to not read your bible daily? Have you ever experienced a closeness to God, the joy of your salvation, NOT being in your bible daily, seeking His Word and will for your life?
Be careful to not get trapped into the "things" of this world. I used to say I didn't have enough "time" to really stay in my bible. After tragedy struck our family last year, and I got through the "processing" time oeriod, I realized, I could not afford, spiritually, NOT to read my bible. It was then I decided it was worth sacrificing things I was doing that ate my time each day, to spend more time with the Lord. But guess what? Satan sent MORE things, different things, that had the ability to suck the time out of my day! It wasn't that these things were bad things, I had the ability to help people- but did GOD want me to help these people? We should always be on guard for things that take away our time in God's Word, even when they're "good" things!
1Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a
cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so
easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
The new year is a time to be thankful for accomplishments.
Have you sat down yet, and thanked God for everything he done for you in 2008? There should be some spiritual growth in us each year- are you able to recognize how much you have grown in the past year?
The new year is a time of anticipation.
The bible says we are to emulate Christ in our lives. When we do this, we will receive crowns in glory, to be able to sit at Jesus' feet. This was Paul's desire. Paul, in his life, was continually looking forward to the moment Christ come back, forward to the crowns he would receive in glory, and for death. Paul was ready to get to heaven- not just at the end of his life, but throughout his life. Can we say that? I cannot! When I think about Paul, I think about just how weak I am, and how much I have to grow. I am so thankful that God in his perfection knew there would be weaklings like me that needed such an example to work towards, that he was sure to have Paul write His Word!!
Would we be ready for death like Paul was, if we were not so wrapped up in the things of this world?
How can we be better Christians in 2009?
- Don't be satisifed with past accomplishments.
Continually be striving to be a better Christian in the future than you were in the past. We will never "arrive" to the point of being the "ideal" Christian, so don't let Satan fool you into thinking there's not more you can do to serve Christ!!
- Be HONEST with yourself!
Have you really accomplished as much as you think you have? Do you really think there's no room for ministry at your church- or are you just fearful of starting something new? There is ALWAYS something to do in God's house- for the old and the young!! Pray- God will show you.
- Set some realistic goals.
No, most of us will not make the big mission trip to a foreign country this year, but we can start working in the nursery-if that's where God wants us. Where do you want to be, spiritually, in January 2010? Do you want to be able to do say you read your bible in a year? Handed out two tracts a week? Have family alter? We accomplish nothing without goals, so start setting them!
- Be totally surrendered to God.
He gave His son for us, why would we think about giving Him anything LESS than our BEST?