A new year is here again, and we thank the living God through our Lord Jesus Christ for seeing us into 2019. It is by His special Grace that you and I are alive. As with all new years, resolutions will be made by many and many blessings will be pronounced on you. There is nothing wrong in speaking life and blessings into someone’s life as it is the proper thing to do: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing“, (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NIV)
However, amid the euphoria and ecstasies of entering a new year, I want to remind us of the following if we are to have a successful year.
First, acknowledge God in all you do: “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths“, (Proverbs 3:6). Acknowledging God comes with trusting Him and as He is faithful, He will direct your path. As a Christian, you should have at the back of your mind that everything you do is done unto the LORD though you may be doing it for your fellow human being or yourself. Whatever you do in this year, you should “do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men“, (Colossians 3:23). It is the only way to avoid complaining and grumbling when you are not appreciated for your works. Because we are advised to “do all things without complaining and disputing“, (Philippians 2:14) with the benefit of becoming blameless before God (Philippians 2:15). Acknowledging Him also means that you do your daily devotions and pray continuously as we are encouraged to pray without ceasing, (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
Secondly, remember that nothing replaces hard work. To be successful, you need to work hard because “All hard work brings a profit“, (Proverbs 14:23, NIV). Don’t spend all your time in church – there is time for church activities and there is time for work. You can’t be spending your work time in church and expect to be blessed. God is not a magician though He is a miracle worker but He expects us to work. I am speaking to those of us who abandon our work and spend days and sometimes weeks in church programmes and expect to be magically blessed. Remember, God worked 6 days and rested on the seventh day in creation and He is still working, (John 5:17). Don’t spend all your time on Social Media too to the detriment of your work. Paul as an Apostle worked hard with his own hands, (1 Corinthians 4:12) and advised the Thessalonians to work with their own hands too (1 Thessalonians 4:11); and gave the command that anyone unwilling to work should not eat, (2 Thessalonians 3:10). You also need to work smart which means you need to be fresh and respect nature, because no one can cheat nature.
Thirdly, give. There are more blessings in giving than in receiving, (Acts 20:35). The church of God is run with money, so the church needs money. It is your responsibility as a Christian to support your local church in whatever way you can. But what I will tell you is that in giving to support the work of God, you should do it cheerfully, because you are not going to be blessed if you give grudgingly. Remember, Ananias and his wife Sapphira did not get any blessings in giving because they held back and did not do it willingly, instead they met death, (Acts 5:1-11). Giving is not limited to the church alone. You should give to help the poor and people in need. There are many Bible verses about giving to the poor but if you need a reason to be kind to poor people, this verse should help you: “He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, And He will pay back what he has given“, (Proverbs 19:17, NKJV). However, any form of giving, be it to the church, poor people or someone in need should be done cheerfully to receive any reward from God because, “God loveth a cheerful giver”, (2 Corinthians 9:7). I’m praying to God to give me the grace to write on the topic of giving in church, especially with regards to appeal for funds.
Finally, respect everyone. Respect is earned and not commanded. You can only respect people if you respect yourself first and this comes by humility. “In lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves“, (Philippians 2:3).
Happy New Year! May the new year be kind to you!