I’m always hesitant to reduce the Christian life to a formula. Here’s why. Christianity is not a religion–it’s a relationship. Christianity is possible because God invaded our space with His Son, Jesus Christ. The very stories about Jesus’ life (called the Gospels) are not a list of dos and don’ts–rather, the stories are Jesus’ encounters with everyday people like you and me. When they met him, He changed them.
Yet on New Year’s Day, the nagging question some of you have is, “How can I live for God in 2015 better than I lived for him in 2014?” It’s a legitimate question. If you’re asking it, you have already won half the battle. Lou Holtz said, “Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” If you’re reading this blog on New Year’s Day 2015, my assumption is that you want 2015 to be different–you want to grow significantly in your walk with God.
Consider Titus 1:1-2…
for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began.
Paul, in a short letter to Titus, is describing his raison d’être–his reason for being. Paul experienced a dramatic turnaround in his life when Jesus Himself confronted him on the Damascus Road. After that he lived for the sake of the faith of God’s elect. If you know Christ you are God’s elect. In Paul’s personal purpose statement he outlines what you need: faith, knowledge and perspective. Let me explain.
You need faith in God. 2014 may have been the toughest year of your life. In very difficult times you will be sustained by faith. The writer of Hebrews defines faith as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (11:1) Simply put faith is believing in what you can’t see because you trust in the God of the unseen.
Then how do you get such faith? Their knowledge of the truth. Romans 10:17 makes it plain. So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Paul existed for others’ faith. They way he bolstered their faith was through the Word. You must have a knowledge of God’s Word if you are going to faithfully experience the trials and joys of 2015.
Perspective. In hope of eternal life. If you’re expecting life on this planet to satisfy you, 2015 will be a series of disappointments. You won’t get skinny enough, buff enough, rich enough. Life on planet earth is not ultimate. There’s a brighter day coming.
So here is my commitment to you. Beginning today, I’ll provide daily encouragement. It is no substitute for your personal time in the Word. View it more as a coach on the sideline calling a play. The play only works if you execute.
My desire is for the sake of the faith of God’s elect. I can’t wait to see how you come to know God better in 2015.