As we close out 2015, our thoughts and dreams turn to 2016. And as we take stock of the year and the year to come I am pleased to present four inspirational words from God’s Word that I pray will bring you strength, comfort and power for the 2016 journey ahead.
“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had.” Romans 15:5
As 100% God and 100% Man, Jesus got tired as he traveled, healed, preached, and dealt with the frailties, faults, and foolery of man. However, Jesus showed us that when the weariness of the activities of life comes, we can turn to God for the renewal we need to press on.
John 4:1-26 tells the story of Jesus at Jacob’s well. Weary from His journey Jesus stopped and, while resting, He encountered a Samaritan Woman whom He asked to draw water from the well for Him to drink. The woman is startled by the request from Jesus who, as a Jew, is required by law not to associate with Samaritans.
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
After further discussion Jesus gives the Samaritan woman and all of us the advice that will help when we get tired from the burdens of life.
“Everyone who drinks the water from this well will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Yes we will get tired and weary, however, when we are engaged in doing God’s work, He will give us the strength and endurance to finish the task.
“For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?” Luke 9:25
God wants us to have ambition, however, He wants us to use our ambition in the context of advancing His kingdom here on earth. We can advance God’s ambitions, and our own, when we remember the words of Matthew 6:33 “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 3:18
In 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul says, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” We can more closely follow the example of Christ when we commit to a life of spiritual growth and when we: (1) Increase our knowledge and understanding of God’s Word by reading and studying His word. (2) Decrease our frequency and severity of sin, by living our lives according to His word (3) Increase our practice of Christ-like qualities found in His Word and (4) Increase our faith and trust in God with never-ending prayer.
For more read my post: Spiritual Growth: A Black Friday Gift For You
“If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” 1 John 4:20
Love is the basis of everything that God wants us to do and be. As followers of Christ we are called on not only to love God but to love our fellow man as well. And while loving God is easy, it is the loving of people with all of their faults, transgressions, and stupidity that is not.
Jesus in Matthew 5:43-48 (as translated in the Message bible) provides us with clear instructions on what God intends us to do as we follow the difficult task of loving our neighbors.
“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that law. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you; not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.
“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”
God declares in Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you; plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
While I titled this post Four Inspirational Words for 2016, God is not confined to only four words nor does the year matter. God is active and ready right now for the execution of the plans that He has for us today and beyond.