On the brink of a New Year and a brand new decade, I want to share a few truths that would make the next year, or two, or five or decade, far more rewarding (emotionally, physically, vocationally, relationally, financially and spiritually), than you’ve ever experienced. Someone once said that the future is like a blank canvas waiting for the artist to produce a masterpiece on it. I like that because the future, this New Year, has yet to be written. It is wide open – full of new challenges and new opportunities. I want to give you an overview of four essential life pillars to guide you into a much better you in 2020 and beyond. They are:
1. YOU NEED POWER TO LIVE ON!
You need that because there are a lot of things in life that drain your life of energy. Stress, conflict, delay, frustration, and everyday work can drain you of the power in your life. Where do you get the stamina and the power to live on, and to keep going when you feel like giving up? People try different things: fads, therapies, pills, and much more. But the real secret of power to live vibrantly is this: focus on God.
God is the source of all power and He has all the power you’re going to need in your life. The Bible says, “Nothing is impossible with God.” Just look around nature. His power is evidenced everywhere you look. The more you focus on God, the more you plug into His power.
A television program preceding the 1988 Winter Olympics featured blind skiers being trained for slalom skiing, impossible as that sounds. Paired with sighted skiers, the blind skiers were taught on the flats how to make right and left turns. When that was mastered, they were taken to the slalom slope, where their sighted partners skied beside them, shouting, "Left!" and "Right!" As they obeyed the commands, they were able to negotiate the course and cross the finish line, depending solely on the sighted skiers' word. It was either complete trust or catastrophe.
What a vivid picture of God’s power in the life of a believer! In this world, we are, in reality, blind about what course to take. We must rely solely on the only One who is genuinely sighted -- God Himself to help us finish the course. The Bible says,
“Even young people get tired, then stumble and fall. But those who trust the Lord will find new strength. They will be strong like eagles soaring upward on wings; they will walk and run without getting tired.” Isaiah 40:30-31 (CEV).
This new year, purpose to draw closer to God, and you will enjoy a power-packed life!
2. YOU NEED PEOPLE TO LIVE WITH!
You not only need the power of God in your life, you also need people around you to support you, encourage you, and do life with because as humans, we were made for relationships. The Bible tells us that when God made Adam, He put him in the Garden of Eden which was a perfect environment. There were no problems, no pressure, and no pain, yet God looked down at Adam in a perfect environment and said it’s still not good enough. And in Genesis 2:18, “God said, ‘It is not good for a person to be alone.”
It doesn’t matter whether you’re married or single, young or old, Christian or non-Christian, you were made to live your best life in connected relationships with others.
I read a study by the Department of Mental Health of California that indicates that social isolation is detrimental to your life. They discovered that if you isolate yourself from other people, and have no close acquaintances or intimate relationships, you are three times more likely to die an early death, four times more likely to suffer emotional burnout, five times more likely to be clinically depressed, and ten times more likely to be hospitalized for emotional or mental disorder.
In Ecclesiastes 4 the Bible says,
“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (NLT)
My friend, we’re not supposed to go through life as Lone Rangers. This new year, cultivate meaningful, close friendships that are mutually dependent.
3. YOU NEED PRINCIPLES TO LIVE BY!
You need power to live on and people to live with, but you also need principles to live by. To live your best life, you need a clearly thought out philosophy of life. You need a moral foundation. You need a code of conduct and conviction that gives you stability when everything’s flying off the wall. And yes, in the new year and the coming decade, you are going to be tested beyond what you’ve experienced in the past. Just look around you; many things are not getting better; in fact, these are perilous times.
Today, more than ever, you are going to need to settle in your mind the values that are going to hold your life up. This is important because we live in what philosophers call the postmodern age. In the modern age, truth was discussed, debated, and sometimes fought over, but in the postmodern age, people don’t even believe there’s such a thing as truth. Truth is whatever is a figment of your imagination. It’s all an illusion. We see this attitude in politics, government, education, business, and in every area of life. We hear people say things like, “There are no absolutes. There is no absolute right or wrong. It’s just what you want it to be.”
My friend, there are profound implications if there is no truth. If truth is variable, then there is no basis for any law because there’s nothing moral to base it on; consequently, we see lawlessness rampant. Also, today, tolerance is more important than truth. You don’t have to tell the truth; you just have to be tolerant of everybody else, and the supreme value is political correctness, no matter how devious they are.
Folks, there’s something more important than tolerance and political correctness. You can be very tolerant and build your life on a total lie. If there is no such thing as truth, then nothing matters, and there is no meaning and no significance in life. We all need moral principles to ground our lives on.
My friend, every principle you need for life is in the Bible, and the Bible says
“I am a pilgrim here on earth; I need a map – and [God’s] commands are my chart and guide.” Psalm 119:19 (LB)
Jesus said: “Everyone who hears My words and obeys them is like a wise person who built their house on the rock.” Matthew 7:24 (NCV)
The Bible contains truths for victorious living. How would you like to have your life recreated? Your guilt eradicated of everything you’ve ever done wrong in life? Your faith activated so you have more confidence and courage to go after life fearlessly? How would you like to have your growth enhanced so you can become all you were meant to be? How about having your mood uplifted, and your potential liberated? These are some of the benefits of living your life plugged into the timeless Word of God - the Bible. It will set you free and empower you to do things you never thought you could ever possibly do.
May I recommend that you download the free Bible App (see below) and begin a short Bible Reading plan each day. There are several to choose from on the app.
My friend, this New Year, spend time regularly reading the Bible and build your life on the truths of God’s word!
There’s a fourth ingredient, a fourth essential you must engage to live your best life ever.
4. YOU NEED A PURPOSE TO LIVE FOR!
You need an outlet for expressing the talents and abilities God has given you so you can contribute to this world with your life. It all boils down to two options: You can live your life by design, or you can live your life by default. You can live your life intentionally or you can live your life accidentally. You can make the most of what God has given you or you can drift off unintentionally, without a plan, and waste what God has given to you.
The truth and good news is, God has a purpose for your life. The fact that you’re alive means He has a plan for you. Life does not make sense until you understand you were made by God to live out God’s purposes for your life. So how do I know God’s purpose for my life? How do I know my place in this world? How do I know my niche, what I'm supposed to do, where I'm supposed to give back? What am I supposed to do with my life?
I can say it in one word. God’s purpose for your life is service. God wants you to serve Him by serving others. You will find no greater joy and satisfaction in life besides serving others with the skills, talents, abilities, and opportunities God has granted you.
Nicolo Paganini, the great Italian violinist, composer, and most celebrated violin virtuoso of his time, willed his marvelous violin to Genoa, the city of his birth, but only on one condition. That the instrument never be played. It was an unfortunate condition, for it is a peculiarity of wood that if it is used and handled, it shows little wear. As soon as it is discarded, it begins to decay. The exquisite, mellow-toned violin has become worm-eaten in its beautiful case, valueless except as a relic. The moldering instrument is a reminder that a life withdrawn from all service to others loses its meaning.
Here are some encouragements to focus on serving others with intention and passion:
“God has given each of you some special abilities; be sure to use them to help each other, passing on to others God's many kinds of blessings.” 1 Peter 4:10 (LB)
“The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.” Proverbs 11:25 (MSG)
“You do yourself a favor when you are kind. If you are cruel, you only hurt yourself.” Proverbs 17:11 (GNT)
“Whoever wants to become great among you must serve the rest of you like a servant.” Matthew 20:26 (NCV)
“God is fair; He will not forget the work you did and the love you showed for Him by helping His people. And He will remember that you are still helping them.” Hebrews 6:10 (NCV)
My friend, this New Year, pursue some ambitious, specific goals and never give up. Maybe it is to stay healthy, lose weight, improve relations, be a better parent, save or make more money, start or finish your education, pursue a new career, be the number one employee in your company, start a new business or whatever good adventure your passion leads you. Whatever it is, these four essential life pillars -- relying on God’s Power, cultivating close relationships, living by God’s principles, and serving others enthusiastically -- will propel your growth profoundly, peacefully, joyfully, repetitively, and with great contentment.
I wish you good health, happiness and tremendous success in 2020 and beyond!