People like to make New Year resolutions. Most of the time, it is quickly forgotten. Some people are very faithful to make New Year resolution but are not so faithful to execute it. There are others who get frustrated and resolve not to make any New Year resolutions. I discovered that are at least five things as Christians we have to do always – 24/7.
Day Night Meditation
People like to watch day-night matches. When tournaments are played in the other half of the globe, people are willing to lose their sleep to watch the action. The Psalmist writes the secret of blessedness. It is the outcome of day and night meditation of the Word of God. “Blessed is the man who delights in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.” (Psalms 1:1-2) Meditation is not emptying the mind or silencing the thoughts, it is understanding, grasping, digesting, thinking, pondering and applying the Word of God. It is Scripture saturated mind rather than culture conditioned mind. It is not an option or preference or choice or interest, but mandate for every Christian. It is no wonder, the Word of God is made available in all languages. In fact, ignoring the Word of God, is insulting God.
Rejoice always, (II Thess 5:16; Phil 4:4) In the New Year, Lord wants us to be joyful, glad and rejoicing. Happiness happens only when circumstances are favorable. Joy is consistent even if the situations are not favourable. Paul writes this from prison where he was chained for fearlessly preaching the gospel. He understood Lord Jesus words: “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Recently, I was in Maharashtra. There is a middle aged man, who was orthodox in his own faith. One woman who resided in the neighbourhood shared the gospel to him. He started attending a church. There he also joined the Community Bible Study – the book of Philippians. He, his wife and children were thrilled to know more about Lord Jesus Christ and surrendered their lives to become Hid disciples. Immediately thereafter, his business went bankrupt, bankers were behind him and had to do odd jobs to survive. However, he was inspired by Paul’s letter, that he rejoiced always like Paul. He shared after nearly six months, he is back to the same economic level as he was before. He shared how he could rejoice always.
Using a smart phone is an interesting experience. Even when I am fast asleep, the phone is active. It receives the messages, emails. Even when I travel, the phone is accessing the towers to stay connected. A Christian is like the smart phone, who is in constant touch with the Lord. Pray without ceasing, (II Thess 5:17) “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” (Romans 8:26) As the phones spontaneously, naturally and consistently stays in touch with the phone towers, the inner person empowered by the Holy Spirit is in constant communion with God. With the help of the Spirit we are assured that the things we do not understand and ask for, that is essential for us is communicated to God. In our life, we do not understand the secret and future of many things, but they are prayed for, if we pray without ceasing through the Holy Spirit.
Gratefulness leads to Greatness
Give thanks in all circumstances. (I Thess 5:18) Being grateful to God in all circumstances is not an easy task. God is not in desperate need of our thanks. In fact, thanks giving changes us to become unselfish, confident and encourage others.
Gratefulness helps us to focus on Greatness, Goodness and Graciousness of God. When we are grateful we confess that we do not deserve all blessings as all of us are condemned sinners. His grace has touched our lives, forgiven us and made us children of God.
Human natural tendency to murmur, grumble and mumble. The world is not a perfect place, where all things happen as we desire. Many times, the opposite happens. Is it possible to be thankful in all circumstances? Gratefulness is an attitude and mindset. Generally, attitude do not depend on circumstances.
Gratefulness is anti-dote for anxiety. There is no need to worry about future as future is secure in His hands. Gratefulness helps us to grasp in faith, the things we do not understand or could comprehend while on this earth.
Absence of gratefulness, led Lucifer to rebel against God. Grateful people never have to visit a psychologist.
Always be prepared to share the reason for the hope that is in you (I Peter 3:15) Christians are light of the world and salt of the earth. Christians are always watched. The people who are not Christ followers observe with keen intelligence, how Christians behave and speak. People observe how, Christians handle grief, loss, pain, suffering, crisis, defeat, disaster. The confidence of Christians is based on the confidence that God is with them irrespective of all circumstances. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalms 23:4) Confidence in crisis, hope in grief, courage in defeat, content in lack, strong in weakness, joyful in suffering, “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col 1:27) is the secret of Christian hope. As Christ is the Victor, all who follow him would taste ultimate victory. With this future hope, the present difficulties, distractions, disasters, pain, sufferings cannot make any dent on the future reality and glory. Paul writes: ” But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing,” (II Cor 2:14,15)
Christians are expected to be same always. They think with biblical worldview, rejoice in the Lord, connected and conversing with God, singing songs of thanksgiving and sharing the hope of the gospel in Lord Jesus Christ. New Year! New Cheer!!