WHERE DID IT GO? Another year has come and gone. Some would say, “Good riddance!” Others would say, “Best year of my life!” Some would yawn and say, “Same old stuff.” Regardless of what you would say the year is gone and the New Year is in front of us. We can’t go back and make 2017 better or worse. But we can help determine what 2018 will look like. There will be things in the 2018 that will be beyond our control. We don’t always control the circumstances nor do we control other people and their actions. But we can control ourselves, our actions, and our planning for the future.
The Apostle Paul said, “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14 NIV) The Apostle himself realized his own shortcomings in his life and walk with God and we should do the same. But concentrating on our failures of the past is not the answer to a successful Christian life. Putting our past failures behind us and looking toward the future is the answer. As God’s people we know how to confess our sins, change our conduct, and press on toward Christian maturity. The ultimate goal of honoring Jesus, finishing this life well and in a godly manner, and being with Jesus forever in heaven at some point in the future is the goal. God is a God of second, third, fourth, and multiple chances. God is a God of forgiveness and love. Our failures of the past should not keep us from walking with God in the future.
So what will you do with the coming year? As God promised eventual freedom to the Jewish people long ago when they faced captivity in Babylon so God would offer us His promise today, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV). If we seek and follow God’s plan for our lives prosperity, safety, hope, and a future will follow. When you think of prosperity do not think merely of financial prosperity because God tells us to be content with what we have, much or little (Philippians 4:11-12). But real prosperity, spiritual prosperity, comes whenever things are right between us and God and we are following His plan for our life. So what will you do with the coming year? What goals will you set? What will you do with your time, talent and treasure? How will you serve God to advance His Kingdom’s work? How will you build spiritually into your own life and the life of others? When 2018 is over, yes 2018, what will be your evaluation of the year? Today, how will you help determine what 2018 will look like?