As we prepare for the New Year, we should brace ourselves for two inevitable messages leading up to NYE:
1) Lists that highlight the “Best of 2021,” and
2) Suggestions for how to be a better “you” in 2022.
It’ll start with nutrition and diet ads and move into efficient time management, both being messages that target your desires and your wallets. The overarching message will be about “doing the work” and making yourself better. The subtext will be that if you’re not working or paying the fees to make yourself better, something’s wrong. The pressure builds because self-improvement is an American growth industry tool and companies recognize that you can never go wrong when selling “NEW and IMPROVED.”
So, this may be a good time to talk about your calling, your savior, and your “contract.”
It’s important to affirm that you as a child of God are on a completely different schedule than the rest of society. As Christ’s ambassadors (Ephesians 6:20), we operate with different priorities or directives. It’s almost a cliché to say that “God has a plan for your life,” but it’s true. The world presses you to come up with an overarching life strategy, God says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). You are assured many times in the Word of the calling or directive that we received before we were born (Galatians 1:15). While those who haven’t received His Lordship will scramble to lose 20 lbs. or make their first million, you have a different situation.
When you were bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20), you were covered under a lifetime warranty for success. Like an athlete on a professional sports team, you have a different “deal” with its own demands and rewards. The fact that your “deal” doesn’t match those around you isn’t your problem; your goal is to please your “Owner.” Yes, you have areas of potential improvement, so, go ahead -- be better, do better! But don't lose your appreciation for what God has done for you. And don't forget that it's God in us, working to do of His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13), that will be our means of growth and improvement.
Remember that you didn't save or create yourself, so you shouldn’t expect to make yourself “better” if you didn’t make yourself as good as you are. As a Christian, remember to expect Him to continue what He started.
So, go away from resolutions and go towards God. He has plans for you that exceed anything you (or a self-help guru) can come up with (Ephesians 3:20). While everyone else is trying to find the Next Big Thing, you can do something different: go back and read your instructions [The Word]. What’s the last thing that God told you to do? What prophetic words are you looking to walk into? What is your pastor declaring for 2022? Take some time this month and remind yourself that God has already given you a handy road map for 2022 – and 2023, 2024, et cetera.
-Elder Gary Abdullah