By Paul Bawden
Is there a way to keep the New Year a Year of daily fulfillment in spite of life’s challenges and the mess in the world and the USA?
There is not just a way, there are three ways to keep the New Year fulfilling in whatever you do. Actually, these make up what life is all about, and without these three ingredients life makes no sense. They are found in the Bible in I Corinthians 13:13). Yes, in the Bible whether you want to believe it or not. We will consider each of the three ways, the essence of life, over the next three articles, faith, love, and hope.
A life of faith is the first way to have a fulfilling 2024, for all of us exercise faith in something or someone. The key to a living dynamic faith is to have the right object for one’s faith, not only the right object but an object that is eternal and personal. Otherwise, one’s faith is in something or someone who is here today and gone tomorrow.
Question. Is there an eternal person we can relate to and interact with in faith. I know of none other than the person of the Lord Jesus Christ – Immanuel – God with us – the God-man, whose birth we just celebrated at Christmas. Sure, one can deny this reality, but it’s still true. He came to win for us His forgiveness and eternal life through His death, burial, and bodily resurrection.
That’s why Jesus said that He came to give us life in abundance, actually eternal life (John 10:10; 3:16). The Scripture goes on to say that anyone in Christ is a new creation – a new person inside, old things have passed away (there is forgiveness), all things have become new – of a different kind, not man made but God made – having a new nature (II Cor. 5:17). Isn’t that what each of us needs in the New Year – to be a new person inside – in our inner selves with a new mind, emotion, and will?
Then the writer of Hebrews recorded that Jesus sympathizes or identifies with our weaknesses, and has been tempted like we have, yet without sin. Since He understands what we are going through, we are urged to come with confidence to His throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Heb. 4:15-16). Amazing words! Through prayer, God is available anytime anywhere to provide you solutions to your problems, along with His wisdom, strength and direction.
Have you taken that step of faith to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior to become a new person inside? I trust you have. It’s one thing to say one has faith in Jesus Christ as one’s Savior, it’s quite another matter to accept Him by faith as one’s Savior and Lord and then to live by faith in Him each day.
That’s why the writer of Hebrews penned that without faith it is impossible to please the biblical God (11:6). For the believer living by faith in Jesus, it means that whether life is easy or challenging, he will continue on believing that He is in control and working out his situation for good even though at the moment it doesn’t seem like that is happening. He knows that Jesus is with him and encouraging him on to keep trusting Him that He has his good in mind.
That’s why God told Joshua of old, “Be strong and of courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go” (1:9). The believer who takes those words to heart through faith will have true fulfillment in his or her life in 2024. The New Year will always be new! Have a blessed New Year!!
Paul Bawden is married and served in the full-time pastoral ministry for 45 years, retiring in 2011, after which he and his wife served in four interims, three in Wisconsin and one in Iowa. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a B.A. in Speech and attended Dallas Theological Seminary, receiving a Master of Theology. He has taken counseling courses at Trinity Evangelical Seminary in Deerfield, Illinois. Paul is a lifetime member of the Evangelical Free Church of America, as well as being a member of Interim Pastor Ministries (IPM), which serves churches during their time of transition in searching for a new pastor. He is also a volunteer writer for GotQuestions.org. Paul likes to write, read, and work in the yard. The Bawdens have had the privilege to travel to Mexico and Romania on mission trips and visited various countries in Europe. They have three daughters and five grandchildren.
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