Challenges for 2013

W. Terry Varner
January 6, 2013

Time passes quickly. January 1, 2012 was 366 days ago. 2012 was one of the unique years— one of those famous Leap Years and 53 Lord's Days. This coming Tuesday will introduce us to the year 2013 on our calendars.

With the passing of time, surely each of us can identify with the writer who wrote:

When I was a boy, time walked;
Now that I am a man, time flies.

God said that we are to make "the best use of time, because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:16). This text suggests many lessons which we ought to consider:

"A New Leaf in 2013." Resolve to be a better person in 2013. Stop a bad or annoying habit. Strengthen the virtues of your life. Be a better Christian, mate, employer, employee^ student, neighbor, etc. Strive to be kinder and less harsh with those around you. Lift a burden for someone who is struggling. Since the Bible encourages gratitude, let us demonstrate a "thankful spirit." Plan to attend all services unless it is impossible. Be on time. Mediate, reflect, and worship God in spirit and in truth. Refuse to complain and grumble by being more radiant about life. Study. Pray. Work. Enjoy.

"From where I have come." In other words, look into your past. Where we have been speaks volumes about us. Our past often serves as a prologue or preface that our lives will continue to flow in the same channel that we have been in up until now. God asked Satan, "From where have you come?" (Job 1:7). Satan's reply was "going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it" (Job 1:7). The same question is fair for each of us. Where we have been gives us insight to our priorities, our preferences, our values, and our convictions. While all of this is true, at the same time, where we have been may suggest where we are headed in the future.

"Where I am." God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden with various responsibilities and commandments to obey. Their disobedience and sin is recorded in Genesis 3. Following their sin, and their attempt to hide it, God asked, "Where are you?" (Genesis 3:9). This question, as with the one above and the one below, is a vital question that all need to consider. Physically, we know where we are, but what about spiritually? Spiritually, we need to answer whether we are lost or saved and active or inactive within the local congregation. We need to ask our self whether our attitude is loving or hateful; whether we are considerate or selfish; whether we are growing or becoming stagnant. In addition to these spiritual items, we ought to ask ourselves if we are good citizens, employers, employees, students, neighbors, etc. As Christians we cannot separate and departmentalize life so that the spiritual has no impact. In other words, our spiritual life is to permeate facets of life. We must realize that the present is the door to our future.

"Where are you going?" Sara, Abraham's wife, dealt harshly with Hagar. Hagar fled to the wilderness. The angel of God found Hagar and asked, "Where are you going?" (Genesis 16:8). This is a good question for us. The truth is where we are going is where we are headed. Where are we going spiritually should be our final or ultimate destination. Is our final destination, heaven? Jesus said the choice of roads is ours (Matthew 7:13-14).