By Steve Nelson
Recap of 2020
2020 was a year of OPPORTUNITY. Read that again, it was not a typo. Every year is an opportunity… to love God and love others. That’s what life is all about, Jesus taught us. (Mark 12:30-31)
Once reminded of these priorities, the next question we must logically ask is: HOW do I love God and love others? In this article we will list five specific things we can each do to love God and love others. We can love God, respect God and please God by following God’s loving instructions, by following His “commandments” – not merely the “Ten Commandments,” but all throughout His Word the many things He teaches us on how to live life. Anything God tells us to do is in our best interest. It’s not “grievous,” not burdensome. It’s a joy. If we are loving God, we will be loving others. (1 John 5:3)
The two things the Devil doesn’t want us to do: love God and love others. Therefore, the bigger the problem, the bigger the OPPORTUNITY to rise above the problem and continue loving God and loving others. This is not merely some self-help motivational slogan, it’s a reality. Remember a guy named David and the big problem he faced – Goliath? Remember a gal named Sarah and the big problem she faced – barrenness? One key for any victory is how we focus our mind. The Bible term to describe this process is called “renewing your mind.” Get rid of defeating thoughts from the world and replace them with spiritually awesome thoughts from God. Put off the old. Put on the new. Make our minds fresh and new to the moment. Spiritual realities, when believed, always trump the physical circumstances. (See Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:22-23 and Colossians 3:9-10 for more about “renewing your mind.”)
We may not be able to control what happens to us, but we can control what we do about it, right? Do we look only at the problems, and thus allow doubts, worries and fears to overwhelm us? Or do we look at the solution, and thus allow our eyes to be enlightened to see the best path God has prepared for us? Renewing our mind. Changing our mind. Transforming our mind. It is practical, simple and fundamental to success. In good years and in bad. 2020 was a “great year” because we had LOTS of opportunity to overcome troubles, didn’t we?
What to do in 2021
Politics aside. Pandemics aside. Social conflicts aside. 2020 is over. 2021 is here. No matter how we did in 2020, we can’t change the past. Let’s make 2021 the best year yet. Let’s seize the OPPORTUNITY to believe the Truth that has been laid at our feet. No matter our race, culture, gender, age or social class. The opportunity is for all to believe.
Look at the OPPORTUNITIES, not the troubles that may come this year. Remain hopeful and encouraged. Be mindful of GOOD news, such as… God is still on the throne and greater than the Devil (1 John 4:4). And, God loves us and cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). And, Jesus already defeated death, saved the world and is still coming back for us someday (1 Corinthians 15:57). How inspiring to remember these truths!
Here are five things we can do, and indeed should do, to live a life of excellence. By following this recipe, we will make a dynamic impact in this world, love God and love others.
- Study –We have the perfect instructions of life, in one convenient collection of writings, in a single book and written in our own language. Looked at it today yet? Search the Scriptures. (Acts 17:11)
- Fellowship –Spend time with others who believe today. Fully share with one another, ifpossible in person, or on the phone. Be together with others who are good influences, who believe. (Acts 2:42)
- Pray –Reach out to God. Out loud or in your mind. Do it alone or with others, often. Find promises in the Bible and claim them in the name of Jesus Christ, with confidence. (Acts 12:12)
- Give– In time, effort, finances and other resources. Notout of obligation, but out of a giving lifestyle. Go big. Make a difference. Be the fuel and muscle to the movement of God’s Word. (Acts 4:34-35)
- Speak –This requires opening our mouths. People will never know what is available unless someone tells them. Speak the good news. Tell about the greatest OPPORTUNITY ever. (Acts 5:42)
Scripture references above are from the “Book of Acts” or as some like to call it the “Book of Actions.” Follow the examples of the first century believers by doing these actions DAILY. God bless you!
Steve Nelson has been a Bible teacher for over 25 years. This article comes from Segment 51 of “CORE,” a 24-hour course for families on how to read and understand the Bible, now in digital format. See T4FAMILYCENTER.COM or reach Steve at [email protected].