2 Corinthians 13:5 commands test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you –unless indeed you fail the test?
A new year, a new beginning, a new opportunity for being more and doing more than we have ever done before. What should be our focus as we begin the new year? We instinctively know the answer to this question: God, family and work but not necessarily in this order. Yet this is indeed the order that matters most spiritually, emotionally and eternally.
Before we take a step forward we must assess where we are by looking backward.
Paul commands we assess ourselves to see if we are in the faith. What does that look like? Here are a few suggestions: first do I really believe in God the Father, Maker and Sustainer of all things? Has my education in godless institutions convinced me that God really didn’t create everything but that my existence is a random chance of molecular development over trillions of years? If the foundation of my belief in God is shaky it will be hard to build anything of substance upon it.
Second, do I believe Jesus is God, that He died on a cross for my sins because God is convinced I am a sinner in need of a Savior and that He rose again from the dead to judge all men and to give eternal life to those whom He has pardoned? My thinking on Jesus will determine my obedience to Jesus.
If I see Him as the same as Mohammad, Buddha and Gandhi I will probably give Him as much allegiance as I do to them. If Jesus is God to me than by virtue of His position as Lord over all He deserves my submission, allegiance and service. What do I really believe about Jesus?
Of course belief is nothing really but an essential first step toward passing the test and moving forward in faith. The enemy of God believes the Father is the Maker and Sustainer of all and that Jesus is God raised from the dead as Savior and Judge of all humanity yet that information wont get him eternal life with God in heaven or on the new earth.
From believing we must take action. So how did we do last year giving our resources to the work of God and the needs of humanity? How many people did we try and help understand that without Jesus as their Savior their destiny is eternity in hell? So many in our family, neighborhood and office do not follow Jesus as Lord; God sees us as His workforce to change that.
So here’s a simple plan for making 2016 more productive in our relationship with God.
One, commit to reading the Bible more so you can know God better and obey Him more. Download our Bible reading plan if you don’t have another.
Two, commit to giving more money this year than you did last year to the work of God through your church or other Christian ministry.
Three, pray for people to tell your story of faith in Jesus with then tell your story as often as possible with them.
If these things are increasing in our lives we will pass the test and will have our best year ever.