When we think about planning a vacation, there is probably no one who doesn’t carefully plot the intended course of travel. But unfortunately, too many people do not consider life as an adventure to be carefully mapped out prior to takeoff.
Believers in Christ need to ask themselves what to expect to receive from life for the coming year, and more importantly, what we expect to give to life during the months ahead.
As we begin a new year, we need to realize that there is a 12-month journey ahead of us. It’s a journey that will be full of opportunities and trials, temptations and victories.
Life’s pattern will contain many opportunities. Among the joys of facing a new year of life is the joy of knowing that there will be opportunities for growth and service. When someone stops growing in some fashion he begins to decay.
In the new year, we should seize the opportunity for growth – you don’t want to become stagnant and complacent. We need to grow mentally. Keep studying God’s word daily – you don’t want your God-given mental abilities to dry up.
We are to be stewards to God of our minds. We are responsible to him for the cultivation of our minds. In these days we live in we find too many people satisfied with a mediocre mentality. We are to give our mind completely over to him and grow in the grace and knowledge of him (2 Peter 3:18).
We also need to grow spiritually. There are adult Christians who have been saved for many years, but they are no more spiritually mature than a newborn Christian.
Peter said, “Grow in grace and in the ‘knowledge’ of our Lord and Savior.” We have been saved to serve him and not just sit and wait for him to return. We shouldn’t be satisfied to stay in our cocoon of self-centeredness. We need to be ready for opportunities of ministering to the sick, the shut-ins, the physically needy.
We also need to be a living witness for the sole purpose of winning a lost person to a saving knowledge of Christ. The Bible says, “The angels in heaven rejoice over one soul that repents.” When you lead someone to Christ, you’ve helped to snatch a soul out of an eternal hell and helped bring that person to the Kingdom of Christ.
We would like to avoid the heartaches and trials this coming year, but those are the things that help produce our spiritual growth. Some will blame God and turn away from God – but this year, no matter what happens, we need to know that God is sovereign, and he allows things to happen for a reason. The reason is for our spiritual growth.
Life’s pattern will also contain victories. The Christian will experience victories and blessings this coming year. Are you ready to face another year of living? Are you spiritually strong enough to seize every opportunity that God puts in your path so that you’ll be able to magnify him in your personal life? 1 John 5:4 says, “This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.”
The Rev. Steve Holcomb is pastor of Cotopaxi Community Church.