We have entered into another year and we know that to be true because the social media posts tell us so. We are confronted by the obligation for new year’s resolutions and our companions have all confirmed that 2019 will be our year for prosperity, health, and blessings from God. Strangely lacking though, is a genuine appreciation for the promise and premise that a new year bring forth for every believer.
When the clock strikes midnight one year ceases and another year is inaugurated. That changeover generates two life truths important to the Christian life. Once again, God has seen us through another year of life in which he continued his miraculous work of sanctification, conforming us into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:1-3a). Additionally, by sovereignly overseeing our existence in one year, he has gifted of us the privilege of seeing another (cf. Psalm 36:9). Taken for granted, few feel the need to ask the question, “Why has the Lord blessed me in such a way?”
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the allowance of a new year is no small gift, but should be preciously held and considered. The Psalmist declared “teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). The shortness of life necessitates intentional inclination towards wisdom (not mere knowledge) which can only come in Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30).
Consider how gracious God is! We see God’s grace in his gift of time, his gift of relationships, and ultimately in his gift of his son. Overflowing with grace, that grace can be stewarded into service for Him by serving others. Peter makes the same point in his first epistle, urging believers to love one another earnestly and using the gifts received to one another (1 Peter 4:8-10).
2019 indeed is your year as the Lord gifted it to you by his grace. It is not merely your year for such superficial elements like fame, fortune, and fortuity. It is a subtle call to steward the year for his glory. If we take hold of the Lord’s promises of the completion of a work in us the previous year and the continuation of that work in this new year, then a logical premise comes forth: this gift of God is one that we can use to serve Him.
There remains a very important question with the realization that we have a precious gift that can be utilized to serve our Lord: Will you indeed use that gift? Service for our Lord is not merely a passive engagement but an active responsibility. The love of God (to us) initiates love for God (from us) that motivates a life of freedom to serve him.
Many however, find themselves questioning how can they steward this year into service for the Lord? There are four simple questions that aide believers in determining how to serve:
- Does it glorify God?
- Does it utilize the gifts that God has given me (abilities, spiritual gifts, etc.)?
- Has God given me the opportunity?
- What does God’s Word say?
According to God’s instructions to Israel, if they simply follow God’s revealed will, God will make the unrevealed part clear (cf. Deuteronomy 29:29). The same process continues today, and these four questions serve to guide us in our service for God.
2019 is your year, not to lay claim to but to lay down your life (Romans 12:1-2). By God’s grace we have the privilege of initiating another year of life. A grand gift deserves to not be neglected but regarded for the glory of God and the good of God’s people. It is not an aim to merely please ourselves, feel good about ourselves, or create a new level of pride, but instead is to utilize the overflow of God’s grace in our lives for the benefit of others.