COLUMN: Making a pledge for the new year

Saturday, January 2, 2010 | 12:01 a.m. CST

The New Year of 2010 is here.  If you do like I do and make resolutions, you know those things that need changing in your life.  It may be working out more in the gym, or not eating as much around the dinner table, or even praying more to God who loves us dearly. 

Whatever the case, we all need to take a good look at what we are doing and to make any necessary changes in our spiritual walk with Jesus. Let’s be honest with ourselves — we do have stuff that needs to be changed or removed from our life.  You see, it’s like cleaning the internal blackboard of our spiritual heart, wiping away all the junk and clutter that causes us to sin and fall short of God’s glory. God gives us a clean slate this year, so he can use us to proclaim the good news for all to see and witness.  “So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.” Romans 13:12.  I can hear God saying: Stick with me friends; keep track of those you see running this same course of life, headed for the goal of salvation in 2010.  There are those out there taking the wrong path, being mislead and trying to get you to join them — don't. 

We can all win in 2010 with Christ as our spiritual leader, but we must persevere together, working through the ups of life and downs of circumstances behind our control. Can you pledge to do that this year?

I am thankful for new beginnings, leaving those old ways and habits behind me, and looking ahead for a fresh new start in the 2010 kinship of Jesus. Paul reminds us to press on toward the goal. This goal is to recognize our shortcomings, then to leave spiritually unhealthy things behind us. Note the following Bible verse: “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been perfect, but I press on to take hold of that which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.” Philippians 4:12-14 (NIV).

This year pledge to lead with high energy and boundless enthusiasm for Christ.  People who we serve are in need of knowing how God can strengthen them during their times of weakness and despair. I am called by God to lead not with despondency and desolation, but with spiritual energy that is expressed by living out the joy of Jesus. We can go to God’s “filling station” where our spiritual tanks can be replenished. The God we serve promises to meet our every need as we reach out to his people to offer them hope and salvation. Let’s be truthful — there are times when we get so caught up in worldly things that we rely on our own human energy and a false enthusiasm that we are unable to be an example of Christ’s leadership.  This year lead with your heart and serve with your hands through the endless power of our Lord and Savior.

This year pledge to give God’s people a sense of purpose and direction through serving Christ. We have people who are wandering around with no real direction or a sense of purpose. We are created in Jesus's image to do good work that he wants us to do. What other purpose do we need? All God asks of us is to accept his plan and the direction that he has promised. I have never been escorted down a gloomy road by Christ, and I do believe that where he leads me I must follow — and I’ll go with him all the way.  I do not always understand his purpose for my life, but one thing is for sure: I would not change my desire to follow Christ no matter what path he wants me to take. This year as you seek God’s direction, please know that a purpose-driven life in Christ will be the key to serving people throughout your community.

This year pledge to develop a collective vision for the future that includes everyone.  Without a clear vision for the things of God, we may find ourselves losing hope for a better tomorrow. It’s time for us to wear the eyeglasses of God, so we can see the joys, blessings and love that are present throughout our community. This way we can have a new vision, seeing as Christ saw more than 2,000 years ago, and the bountiful fruit of his spirit will come into clear focus. “And afterward, I pour out my spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy; your old men will dream dreams; your young men will see visions.” Joel 2:28. If I don’t have a clear vision of my friends in need or what they can become, I would be doing them and myself a disservice. We should want them to know that Christ sees them as wonderful creations — made in his image and likeness. With God’s assistance, we can help them visualize and believe this, too. This year remember, without a vision, people perish.

This year pledge to share your passion of Jesus Christ with family and friends throughout your community. Only passion, Christly passion for the lost, can elevate the spirit to do great things and to see greater things come to pass. Show Christly passion, and filter every action and every thought through the heart of God’s grace and mercy.  This passion could become the energy used to work for internal transformation, to show compassion, to feed, shelter and teach those who need to see human services through the life of Christ.  God will give us the passion we need from his loving spirit, as we express our heartfelt love to distressed individuals. He has the power to renew our mind and our spirit as we walk in his loving holiness. “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.  Honor one another about yourselves.” Romans 12:9-10. This year let him open your heart to share the passion and love of your soul to others, through the sincere passion of Christ. 

I encourage you to pledge to

  • lead with the type of energy that others will want to follow and live by daily;
  • give from your heart and not from your head, so your giving is not in vain;
  • develop a vision that is crystal clear for a better new year of spiritual growth; and
  • share with all hurting people the real love of Jesus Christ.

As you begin this new year remember that all things can be changed in the eyes of God, but our part must be done, whatever that may be. Perhaps it is changing your attitude toward someone who has mistreated you, or committing to a stronger prayer life during these somewhat uncertain days, or even sticking to that diet. Whatever the case, God has a purpose and a plan for your life this new year. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come." 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV). 

Maj. K. Kendall Mathews is the regional coordinator for The Salvation Army.


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