We are completing the Advent season in celebrating the coming of our Savior into the world. And now it is time to consider what lies ahead in the coming new year of 2016 — What priorities should we consider?
No doubt many will be thinking of finances. Some will be thinking of how to improve their health. Others will consider relationships.
But I believe we should all consider the values Jesus sought to bring to our attention when he asked, For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? (Luke 9:25)
But emphasizing eternal values, Jesus also commands us, But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you (Matthew 6:33). It seems that the more important material things become, the less secure one feels in pursuit of them.
Jesus knew that anxiety deceives. Earthly treasures are subject to moths, rust, and thieves. They can be destroyed or stolen. Banks can fail. Governments can collapse. Property can be confiscated. We need a security that transcends material things.
Jesus also knew that anxiety enslaves. Human beings seem to need a master; so often it is either God or mammon (Matthew 6:24). Blessed is the man or woman who discovers that in Christ we have true freedom, releasing us to achieve the purpose for which we were created. We can by making Christ Lord escape the idolatry and slavery that would force us into a false role in life.
Finally, Jesus also knows that anxiety paganizes. He knows that worry over the material, the present, the here-and-now can drive the human mind and heart to abnormal and dangerous obsessions.
Let each of us prepare for a new year by taking time to quiet our hearts before the Lord and ask for His guidance and grace for all that we will face throughout 2016. He knows our needs for the essentials of life.
As we read in Matthew 6:33, if we put His will ahead of our own selfish interests, we’ll be amazed at how adequately He’ll meet our needs and release us from worry and fear in the process.
Let’s take time to pray, worship, study the Bible, and enjoy family and friends. Let us lay up treasures in Heaven this year by investing in Kingdom interests, sharing our Christian testimony, and fellowshipping with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Most important, let us spend time with family – praying together, worshiping together, and eating and laughing together.
Let’s ask God to help us walk each day in fellowship with His ungrieved Holy Spirit! And what a HAPPY NEW YEAR we’ll surely enjoy!