This is being written only a few hours before the arrival of 2014. A new year! An opportunity for a fresh start! Most of us use some sort of daily planner to keep track of our schedules, activities, and appointments. Please allow me to make a few suggestions when planning for the coming year. (I’m sure you will notice each suggestion starts with a letter from the word “plan.”)
First, Pray perpetually. Jesus often began His day with prayer. Mark 1:35: “Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.” Prayer prohibits us from leaving God out of our plans. Prayer causes us to place our future in God’s hands and brings the power of the Almighty to our side. No wonder Jesus taught we are to always pray and not lose heart (Luke 18:1).
Second, Learn to love. Consider the characteristics of love from I Corinthians 13: love is patient and kind, love does not envy, love doe snot behave rudely, love is not selfish. If we do not have love in our hearts, nothing else is of any profit. It is love that causes us to put away our selfish behavior, it is love that causes us to rid our lives of bitterness and animosity. It is by our love that others will know we are Christ’s disciples (John 13:35).
Third, Accept your adversities. Consider the apostle Paul’s reaction to adversity. He had wanted to go to Rome (Romans 1:10-11). He eventually did, but as a prisoner (Acts 28:16-17). I’m sure this is not what Paul had in mind! But Paul was still able to use this situation for good (Acts 28:23). Things may not always go as we had planned. But when they do, how should we react?
Fourth, Nurture those nearest to you. Nurturing those nearest to you includes your spouse (Ephesians 5:23, I Peter 3:1), your children (Titus 2:4), your parents (Ephesians 6:1-2), your neighbor (Romans 15:2). It includes everyone with whom you come in contact! Next to your relationship with God, nothing should be more important to you than your relationship with others here on earth.
How can you better plan for the coming year? Pray perpetually. Learn to love. Accept adversity. Nurture those nearest to you. Happy New Year everyone!