Every time January 1 rolls around, I take a few moments to revisit where I have been in the previous year. Questions I ask myself include:
• What did I accomplish for the cause of Christ?
• In what areas do I really need to grow?
• What significant endeavors should I pursue this year?
Questions like these cause us to reflect on the true meaning of our existence. When we contemplate the seriousness of the times in which we live, we must conclude that our focus should be on that which is most important in the eyes of God. As you ponder your answers to thought-provoking questions such as those listed above, what actions are you willing to take to ensure that your future does not resemble your regrettable past?
These are momentary considerations pertaining to our everyday lives, but the real preparation should be directed at what is in store for those who love the Lord (see 1 Corinthians 2:9). We must become so heavenly minded that we passionately set our minds on things above, not on things on the earth (see Colossians 3:1-3). The brevity of life should engulf our thinking on a regular basis so that we can avoid the apathetic slumber of monotonous living and embrace the reality that what we do now counts for eternity.
How does this pan out in the real world? One of my favorite passages from the book of Hebrews provides an answer to that question:
They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground. (Hebrews 11:37-38)
Those spoken of in this passage refer to persecuted saints who have yet to experience the final resurrection. They were servants of God, bent on fulfilling the will or their Maker despite the hostility they faced from agitators. Believe it or not, this is a picture of the normal Christian life.
The world was not worthy of them, meaning their purpose in life was to benefit the very people who persecuted them. This concept is related to the example of both Jesus and Stephen, who uttered prayers of compassion towards those who were in the process of executing them (see Luke 23:34; Acts 7:60).
The point is this: when our eyes are fixed on things of eternal significance, nothing this world throws at us can remove us from the path of righteousness. Because of that which is to come for those who know Him, we cannot afford to wallow in the valley of immaturity. We must give our lives for the cause of Christ, for it is only when our hearts are dedicated to eternity that we lay up for ourselves treasures in our eternal home (see Matthew 6:19-21).
With the New Year ahead, for the sake of the gospel I urge you to press onward Christian soldier, serving the Lord with your gaze on eternity, for in the end, it will all be worth it:
“…God had planned something better for us…” (Hebrews 11:40)
Happy New Year!