The Glorious Challenges of a New Year

J. D. Conley
January 6, 2013

On this first Lord's day of 2013, we are presented with numerous challenges. One of the stiffest of these challenges is putting 2012 behind us. For those who accomplished some things for the Lord last year and grew a little taller, it might be tempting to ease up and rest on those achievements and growth. For others who failed, the temptation might be "Why try? What's the use?" Regardless of last year's spiritual growth, or lack thereof, its important that we forget about last year and plan and follow through this year (Phi.3:13). Because of the brevity and uncertainty of life (Jas.4:14; Pro.27:1) we cannot afford to ease up and bask in the waning glow of past accomplishments, nor wallow in our recent failures. Both activities will make us useless in the Kingdom of God.

Therefore, some positive challenges of the new year involve:

Work - Christians everywhere are to be interested in "every good work" (Col. 1:10; lTim.5:10; 2Tim.2:21) The New Testament is replete with exhortations to be engaged in "good works." Paul told the Christians at Ephesus "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works..." (Eph.2:10). The word "workmanship" is translated from a word meaning "masterpiece." We are God's masterpiece through Christ. Thus to live up to that appellation it is incumbent that we all be workers in the church this new year. Work is a challenge, but it is also rewarding and can be immensely enjoyable. May we all work harder this year in bringing souls to Christ (Pro. 11:30; Jas.5:20).

Service - Man was made to serve, even from the very beginning (Gen.2:15). We are of such a nature that we must serve something or someone. We can choose who or what we serve. What we cannot do is serve the Lord and sin at the same time (Mt.6:24). Service is what the Christian life is all about. We are saved to serve. Service was the mantle of the Lord, a mantle He never took off (Mt.20:28; Lk.l9:10). Christian servitude is the life we have chosen. We must be willing to say, once and for all, "Lord, all on the altar of service I lay" This year we need to say with Paul, "For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake" (2Cor.4:5).

Consecration - In 2013 if we work at achieving total consecration (i.e., devoted holiness) to God then the challenges above, work and service, will naturally slot into place. So many of our hymns carry the theme of consecration, e.g., Take My Life And Let It Be, Have Thine Own Way Lord, etc. Are these hollow lines we sing? Let us pledge our allegiance to the King of kings. How long has it been since you said, "Lord, I will do better?" How many will come and say, "Lord, I renew my allegiance to thee?" Will you start this new. year this way?