New Year’s Eve, at the stroke of midnight, some party and drink as if there’s no tomorrow. Some weave intoxicatedly through traffic behind the wheel of a potential killing machine. Some seek the thrills of sensual pleasure. Some set off fireworks or exchange kisses. Others sit at home, envy the masses at New York’s Times Square, and wish they were there.
But another group of people scattered throughout the world won’t be drinking, driving, shooting off fireworks; they won’t be sitting at home wishing they were somewhere else with someone else. Instead, they will intuitively follow the counsel: “Seek first [God’s] kingdom and his righteousness” (Matt. 6:33). Without condemning innocent rituals, this group will usher in New Year’s Day, as any other, by seeking God’s kingdom first.
Let’s declare New Year’s Day, and every day in 2020, to be a time of growth and advancement.
Let’s not get caught up in the attitude of “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.” Instead, let’s declare New Year’s Day, and every day in 2020, to be a time of growth and advancement, to declare our PRAISES to God.
Here are a few declarations for your consideration:
Peacemaking: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Rom. 12:18).
In a world of antagonism, grudges, and revenge, peacemakers are at a premium. Let’s take the high road of peace and spread love, acceptance, and forgiveness.
Rejoicing: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4).
Whatever the situation, let’s declare that God is our rock, joy, and inspiration. We will not give up, give in, or give way. In all things let’s rejoice and declare that the Lord is near and in charge.
Aspiring: “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14).
Set a target and pursue it. Take one step at a time. Focusing on targets consistent with our life mission is the key to success.
Initiating and completing: “My only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me” (Acts 20:24).
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” But why stop there? Let’s go beyond, further, and higher. Initiative is the self-starter that keeps us advancing.
Sanctifcation: “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).
Sanctification is never for its own sake. Seeking sanctification is our path to fulfillment and productivity.
Energized living: “I pray that you may enjoy good health” (3 John 2).
Good health is foundational to our energy and vitality. Since the body is the medium for the mind, and the mind is the facilitator of character, health is essential for a rich and fulfilling life.
Sharing faith: “It is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved” (Rom. 10:10).
Genuine Christians live in two dimensions. They believe in Christ and the gospel, and they live their beliefs through consistent practice and honest witness.
Declare your convictions for 2020: Make peace. Celebrate in the Lord. Aspire toward your ideals. Stick with Jesus and never give up. Grow in grace. Live abundantly. Share your faith.
Delbert W. Baker is vice chancellor of Adventist University of Africa, near Nairobi, Kenya.