If we only knew what was to come in 2020, how would we have prepared ourselves? Would we have done anything differently?
I think if I knew what 2020 was going to hold, I would have tried to hit the rewind button again and again. More than that, I would have chosen to appreciate the “now” more, being more intentional and urgent in the here and now. This urgency is one which leads us to be more bold in sharing our faith, loving our spouse and kids, leading our team, and giving our all in whatever our occupation may be. Savor the moments, because in a blink of an eye, it can all be taken away.
We’ve all seen in 2020 that things can change drastically, very quickly. At some point we will all be off the earth. In the past year we’ve watched as thousands of people have died due to a pandemic, an economy has tanked, many have lost their jobs, there’s been racial reckoning, and an election with the largest percentage of people voting since 1900. If I look back, I wish I would have had a sense of urgency about what God had for me to do right now.
Recently, Pastor Tony Evans talked about the fact that not one person was left in the same place after 2020. Either we slid backwards or we moved forward. We either strayed far away from God or God has drawn us so much closer to Himself because of the hardships we’ve faced.
No one knows what 2021 will hold. There’s no guarantee that it will be any easier than 2020. The thief comes to kill, steal and destroy. We live in a world where there will always be famine, plague and hurt. There will be good times and bad. We will face many battles. That tomorrow will be better than today is not promised to any of us. The challenge is to take what you’ve learned from the past and apply it going forward. I’m preparing myself by digging deeper in the Word of God so that I may be unshaken. Psalm 16:8 says, “I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” This is my goal for the new year, and every year to follow.
God’s greatest commandment is to love God and love others. None of us can truly love our neighbor if we don’t love God first. But what does it mean to love God? We see how much He loves us; we just celebrated this act of love on Christmas. Loving God means that we honor Him with our heart, we know Him in our soul, we study His precepts in our mind, and we obey Him with our feet. It’s all of this, and then we are to love our neighbor the way He loves us. Love is seeking God’s best for others; it’s a verb. When you love others, it may not be what they expect or want, but it’s what’s best for them.
In Colossians, we read that love is the perfect bond of unity. In 2021, love has to be what we live in and what we move out of. When you love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul, you gain a different perspective. You can see just how much you’ve fallen short and the amount of grace and love God pours out on you. It’s in this humility that we are then able to love others with the grace God gives us. God’s love frees us from being encumbered by our own bitterness. The fact is, we can love because God loves us. And people will know we are Christians by our love. It’s what sets us apart.
How will you set yourself apart this year?
— Benjamin Watson, former NFL tight end
Benjamin Watson is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing articles and opinions. Check out Benjamin’s Increase profile here.
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