“Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” – Isaiah 43:19
Ah… Where has 2013 gone? 2013 was a good year. Lots of things happened…good, bad, and the ugly! But, with a new year comes new resolution, new lifestyles, new everything, right? Yes, we all make resolutions and there are some that we never follow through with. Just to name one, I committed myself to reading the entire Bible with my denomination with their structured plan and well, to be honest, I didn’t make it through January with that plan. I stopped, and had to do my own. Why? Because that plan wasn’t for me.
What are your 2014 resolutions? Diet? Budget? The same ole same ole? I am not here to persuade your way of thinking and to get you to do what I’m doing and give such and such money to my ministry because I helped you. Nope, that’s not me. This past Sunday, I challenged some of our students in Sunday School with three thoughts and I want to challenge you with the same three thoughts that I believe God is wanting to do in our Student Ministry specifically, in my life, and yours, too, if we allow Him to.
1) Commit yourself to LOVING
Jesus tells us in Matthew 22:37-40, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Why does Jesus say that the most important commandment is to….love? Think about your front door of your house or apartment. Your door would not be able to open up or be stable if it didn’t have 2-3 hinges on the side to keep the door steady and able to open. This is what Jesus is saying here! He says that love is the very thing that opens the door to new opportunities and new things in life! When we love, God’s love is shown! I was always told, “Do unto others as you would want them to do to you” and honestly, I fail at that a lot. Love is so important! Don’t just tell someone that you love them today…SHOW THEM!
2) Commit yourself to FORGIVING
Sorry, Stewart, I’m not going that route! You had me at love, but forgiving is too hard for me…see ya! Well, Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:15, “But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Listen people, forgiveness is one of the hardest things you will do here on Earth, but I promise it’s worth it. My wife tells me all the time that I hold onto grudges a lot of times and I do and I know it’s wrong. Forgiveness is hard, but if we can conquer forgiveness, do you understand what our world would look like? If we want to be forgiven, we first must learn to forgive! No matter how hard it is, no matter who it is, or what that person has done, do NOT give the enemy any opening in your life for bitterness and anger. We are in this together and need each other!
3) Commit yourself to HATING
Yes…hating! Amos 5:15 says, “Hate evil, love good.” Stewart, that’s Old Testament, man! That’s old school! Okay, then let me go to Romans 12:9…”Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.” Don’t pick and choose what Scripture already says! It’s all Scripture and all God inspired (2 Timothy 3:16). What does hating evil consist of? Everything that is evil, has the characteristics of evil, and the very appearance of evil….RUN FROM IT! I’m going to let you determine what is evil, but remember that even King Solomon, the wisest man in the world, even with all of his wisdom still fell…and he fell hard and a lot! Listen to me, you might think you have all the answers and know every translation of the Bible, and can quote the Greek and Hebrew Bible from front to back, but remember that Solomon was the wisest man in the world, knew God’s Word and His instructions, yet he still married thousands of women and fell hard in sin. 1 Thessalonians 5:22 says, “Flee from the very appearance of evil.” Run from the evil in your life and in the world! I am running this marathon called life just like you are, but there is something about when multiple believers run beside each other, helping each other, and encouraging each other!
So, what will you do in 2014? I know what my family, Restoration Student Ministries, and our church is doing. I hope you will join us, as the body of Christ, and allow Jesus be both Savior and Lord over your lives! Let us love, forgive, and hate what is evil! You will mess up, but get back up again and don’t allow the enemy to tell you to just give up because it’s too hard. If you weren’t worth something to God, then why is the enemy spending so much time on trying to distract you and turn you away from God? The enemy himself even knows your future and he’s scared, because your destiny is hidden in the Almighty God and can never be destroyed. You are worth it. You are meant for good. You are meant to lead many people to Christ. Let’s do this thing together!
Remember, God loves you, God has forgiven you, and God is fighting every evil for you. He is for you and with you!