Everything happens in a snap right? A year has ended, what are you most grateful for? How about this year? What are your plans, goals, and dreams?
Every new year, new hopes are arising, new dreams are soaring, and new people are coming. Everyone seems so excited wishing this year would be more meaningful than yesterday. Manifesting a good life all along with fireworks, loud music, and good food. And I was like in my room, just pondering what He had done in my life this past year. Miracles, answered prayers, breakings, fears, and frustrations. It was full of mess yet full of grace. Memories of pain and hardship; breaking and healing, weeping and rejoicing, miseries and miracles.
And I've learned the most valuable lesson in my life, we are more than conquerors. Life here is just a test of faith, sooner or later our oxygen will deplete, and all the achievements, material things, and possessions will turn into vain yet only what is done for Christ will last.
Believers, we are warriors and conquerors so we must put on the full armor of God, so that we can take stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:10-17
Imagine how many of us would try harder to build our own kingdom this coming year? Our generation is obsessed with titles, achievements, self-image, and possessions. Many people are finding their worth, identity, and significance in these things. Everyone has a long list of self-development goals and aims to become like an imaginary person, perfectly complete until they reach their highest potential and self-actualization. This has led to an abundance of self-help books, ideologies, and pep talks on becoming more self-centered, and the idea that you can be whoever you want as long as it feels right to you. However, buying into these ideologies can leave you feeling empty, selfish, and confused.
Our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the spiritual forces of evil, and we have to see them. Have you never noticed people are becoming lovers of themselves? As it is written, "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people." 2 Timothy 3:1-5
Having a form of godliness but denying its power! Goosebumps! These words are hard to swallow, right? Whoever is wise let him understand these things, whoever is discerning let him know them for the way of the Lord are right and the upright walk in them, our transgressors stumble in them. Hosea 14:9
So how can we start this year?
More of Him and less of ourselves. The world tells us to love ourselves deeper but the Bible says to deny ourselves and take the cross and follow Him. Do you want to glorify God in your life? Glorify Him in your obedience, surely it will be more glorious in the future. You seek His pleasure, you dive into His Word, and live according to His ways. Get out of the cage of selfishness, fears, and worries and run in the race with perseverance, courage, faith, hope, and love. Perfectly love cast out fear, our love for Him will give us fuel to do hard and holy things and to leave the worldly perspectives.
Christ is enough! Christ's crucifixion is more than anything we ask for. He is beyond enough. He is the actual power of God and wisdom of God. He is all in all. How many of us believers walk through life with a Biblical perspective, a Gospel-oriented life? Admit it, sometimes we are so comfortable with the salvation that we have, the grace we received and still trying to find indicators that our lives really matter with the works that we've been doing, and trying to shrink Jesus in some part of our life. The reality of following Christ is not that kind of cheap privilege, it's more than that, it has a great amount of responsibilities that a cross must be carried. It is to lay down our lives for those around us and to point to Christ continually by imitating Him.
We have been called according to purpose as Romans 8:28-30 says, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified."
Our purpose is to conform to the image of His son, so that He might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. We are called to be Christlike in this world, to spread His light to those who are lost in darkness, to love the unlovable, and to lay down our lives just as He did for us. You might think this sounds too spiritual, but there is no other way to live a life that pleases God. He has promised to be with us and to help us through His grace and mercy. As we abide in Him, walk with Him, and trust Him fully, we will continually be changed into His likeness.
You cannot become a follower of Christ when you are full of yourself. Lay it down, lay down your pride, selfishness, fears, and worries. You don't need to strive harder to find yourself and to find your significance in this world. You need to turn to God, to find Him, and surely you will find yourself unworthy of His love. Yet, as John 3:16-18 says, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil."
You were created for Him, to give glory to Him. You are called to a higher purpose. God did not create us to receive things from us rather He created to give, He gives Himself. He gives mercy. He gives joy, purpose, and pleasure. He gives us much when we glorify Him. And when you accept Him as your Savior, ask Him to cleanse you from all the filthiness surely He will purify you from all your sins and the gift of life is waiting for you. A life full of meaning instead of regrets, a life full of peace more than worries, a life full of forgiveness more than condemnation, a life with Jesus is a life full of joys in spite of sorrows and trials.
There is no other way than Jesus. Live for Him, more of Him, and less of ourselves.