For 2014, God invites you to keep walking in the way of Christ. It is also the way of cross-bearing. Negatively, cross-bearing means (a) rejecting lofty ambitions, and (b) denying sensual pleasures of this present world. Taken to extremes, (a) means rejecting unrestrained pursuit of personal success at the expense of doing the Heavenly Father’s business; (b) means denying undisciplined enjoyment of sensual pleasures without thought of pleasing God. Positively, cross-bearing means identifying Jesus’ righteousness and mission for the lost. If you love Him, you will obey His commandments. Cross-bearing is to crucify your carnal nature. It means giving your priorities and energies to implement God’s righteousness where He has placed you. In the process, He will purify you and nurture your faith in-Christ.
Distractions, diversions and deceptions lie in wait for all of us. The devil deceives nations through national leaders. He will deceive God’s people, especially church leaders, through more subtle ways. He will spoil a marriage, divide a family, stir up strife, cause a conflict, or slacken a zealous believer. He prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. Draw close to Christ by abiding in His Word, by yielding to the Holy Spirit, and praying in the Holy Spirit. You will be less likely to give in to the deceiver. Your devotion to Christ will not be easily distracted. You will intercede for others. You will taste victory in the Name of Christ.
Many times in the past year you may have experienced disappointments. You did not get what you want. “Hope deferred makes the heart sick” (Pro 13:12a). This is especially so if you seek to do your own will. However, if you seek to do God’s will, you will wait patiently in prayer and rest in God’s assurance that He will accomplish it for His own glory (Ps 37:5; 115:1; 127:1; Rom 8:28).
One needs faith, hope and love to do God’s will. His will is revealed in His Word. Be diligent and disciplined in the study of God’s Word. Through patient endurance and obedient application, God’s servants can do His will in the midst of temporary setbacks. Christ-like character and deep-seated joy come through disappointments and discouragements. The kingdom of God is not meat or drink but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Here are just three examples of obedience to God’s Word: 1) Based on John 12:32 that Jesus will draw all people to Himself, all of us ought to be doing good and witnessing to our immediate circles of contact; 2) Based on John 10:16 that Jesus seeks out other sheep, we ought to venture out or partner or pray for gospel missions; 3) Based on Matthew 19:14 that Jesus beckons little children to come to Him, we ought to find ways to attract BCK children and other children to Jesus, not just our children.
Jesus Christ gives believers a good hope, a better hope and a living hope. Let us all respond to God’s love, grace and mercy. Let us obey and serve our Lord Jesus Christ with joy.
…a good hope through grace (2Th 2:16).
…a better hope through which we draw near to God (Heb 7:19)
… a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1Pe 1:3).
Elder Yoong Yuen Soo