Happy New Year! If You Follow Your Calling, This Will Be Your Best Year Yet
We will continue our study of how the kingdoms of this world are in conflict with the coming Kingdom of God, but I would like to take this opportunity to be thankful for all the Lord did in 2013 and for all of the potential of 2014.
Because we are commanded to "enter His gates with thanksgiving" (see Psalm 100:4), I ask you to take a few minutes to think of all the things that took place in 2013 for which you are thankful, and thank Him.
Our thanksgiving to God should include everything that happened, because we are told to give thanks in all things. Everything works together for our good, so we should actually be thankful for everything in our lives. This may be hard for many things and will require even more faith. Since we know that "without faith it is impossible to please Him," the more faith we have in Him the more it pleases Him (see Hebrews 11:6).
Your Best Year Yet
Now let us resolve that we are going to enter 2014 with a thankful heart that is continually thanking Him. In this way, we will be able to continually dwell in His presence, and 2014 will be our best year yet.
Many reduce faith to belief in an outcome instead of faith in God. Having the best year yet does not depend on what happens in 2014 as much as it does on how close we get to the Lord. Psalm 16:11declares,
"You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever."
You can know that this is your calling, because it is the calling on each of God's people. It is God's will for 2014 to be your best year yet—full of more peace and more joy than you have ever experienced before, because He is calling you to draw closer to Him. Every year thereafter is supposed to be even more full of the peace of God and the joy of the Lord because it is your calling to get ever closer to Him. All we have to do is follow Him and resolve that we are going to fulfill our highest purpose as human beings—to love Him above all things and to love one another.
Peace of God
It is that simple. Those things that divert us from simplicity of devotion to Christ bring pain, confusion, frustration, and fear into our lives. If we place seeking the Lord above all things, as is basic to those who resolve to keep Him their first love, then every major decision we make in our lives will be based on first seeking His Kingdom and His righteousness.
As we are told in Romans 14:17, His Kingdom is "righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." If we are seeking first His Kingdom and His righteousness in all of our major decisions, then we will be doing what is right in the sight of the Lord, which leads to true peace that leads to true joy.
As we proceed into these times, the distinction between those who have built their lives on the Kingdom of God and those who have built on the kingdoms of this world will become increasingly pronounced.
Those who have the peace of God will become more quickly distinguished from those who do not. Those without the peace of God will be growing in fear and discord. Those who have the peace of God will be growing in the joy of the Lord, and this will cause them to stand out more. You are called to be one of those standout people who represent the Kingdom of God. If you follow your calling, this will be your best year yet.
Please also consider that as your peace and joy in the Lord becomes more pronounced, you will be asked more often what is the source of this. I Peter 3:15 tells us to, "sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you." Your peace and joy will result in many salvations as these times unfold. Rehearse now how you will answer those who ask about the Source of your hope, your peace, and your joy.