It’s so often the case on a new year’s genesis, when the glittery euphoria and feasting of Christmas has dwindled, soberness begins to form its own silhouette. A quick glance at the bank account sends a reverberating shivers through the spine, a dreaded reminiscence of the festive extravagant spirit; so fun, yet so taxing – scuba diving in a melancholic sea – like a long lost cousin, January strides in, and not without its baggage, as well as renewed re-invigorated plans and schedules for the year (how’s that going with that by the way?), what some of us term – resolutions.
Personally, there are still unfinished obligations that need attending to and completion. I’m unequivocally not mistaken in assuming that 80% of readers glued to this content, have got ‘unfinished tasks’ carried forward to 2017. Resolutions – sounds so much like a long lost acquaintance of ‘cliché’, thus putting that word out of its misery, I’ll just term it “2017 – Call of Duties” – C.O.D’s.
C.O.D 1 – PRAY INCESSANTLY:
1 Thessalonians 5:17-19, “Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit.” Too often it was the case last year, that I tried to do things my own way and prayed as a last resort. Majority of us are guilty of that and usually don’t recognise the transgression in that – chucking out “seek ye first the kingdom of God” through the window. Praying ceaselessly just means, living every moment with the awareness of the presence of God, through the communication of every thoughts, worry, anger, fears et al.
The world is becoming a conundrum of ever growing volcanic cataclysmic events, that should weigh heavily on the hearts of born-again Christians – souls perishing daily, without the blood of Christ Jesus; the wrestling against principalities and powers becoming ever more apparent than before. Prayer causes us to depend on God’s grace, rather than the will of our selfish nature. The praying life of every believer suffers in a state of stagnation, when the ultimate desires are spurned on by the sinful nature of the flesh.
C.O.D 2 – METICULOUS STUDY OF THE BIBLE:
What’s the use of an axe to a farmer, if all he does is employ a neighbour to till the ground for plantation; or why own the field at all, if it’s just littered with seeds on the ground, with no careful tiling or watering? That’s the scary life of most Christians, with no passion and desire for the word of God. How can we get to understand His unfathomable grace and wisdom if we don’t take the time necessary to invest immensely in His words and commandments. Hebrews 4:12 (NIV) noted “For the word of God is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
Just reading of the word alone, is the nature of a lukewarm Christian, a sloppy approach to a fervent spiritual life. Putting into prayer and practice, the word of God is circumvented to a numinous pious existence. Matthew 7:24 (NIV) “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”
C.O.D 3 – EVANGELISE MORE:
“Go ye into the world and preach the gospel” – a statement most bible stewards are familiar with, but are far too often comfortably caught up in the mundane and sometimes traumatic affairs of life, and hence that commandment, intentionally or not, gets overlooked. How else can souls be worn for God, without the lights ‘litting’ up to showcase the grace, love and mercy of God. A salt without its natural flavour is dead and worthless. The bitter truth is that, the lies of hell grips our mind – the fear of rejection: “what would they say or think”, “they’ll just laugh and mock me”…
… A realisation that gripped me and has been steadily adopted, is the attitude of ‘so what’; so what if I get rejected, it’s not the end of the world, it isn’t my job in the first place to convict and convert the unrighteous heart to a genuine conversion, that’s the work of the Holy Spirit. All we have to do is convey the simple message of truth, it really is that simple. A rejection means nothing, as selfish as it sounds, there are many more seeking hope, waiting to hear the good news of the gospel and would gladly accept it. 2 Timothy 4:5 “But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry” verse 2 “Preach the word, be instant in season, out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.”
C.O.D 4 – BUDGET DILIGENTLY:
Budget, budget, budget… An alarm that rings but intermittently we snooze it – flip the page over to another day; like a rhetorical question neglected, we procrastinate the much needed response. The premise of diligent spending and budget is the reality that bills and other essential needs come periodically, hence 2 key components are essential “pre-allocation and discipline”. The pre-allocation of the net income after tithe, to ‘Category A’ indispensable obligations and the discipline to put a limiter on purchases, but rather save.
It’s absolutely crucial for Christians to understand the principle of wise stewardship, over what God has blessed us with. The money we own is God’s – Psalm 50:10 “For every beast of the forest is mine and the cattle upon a thousand hills”. Everything we see and own is God’s, the sooner that’s realised, the more effective and efficient decisions become, simultaneously we begin to seek God’s help in every conscious action taken.
There are 3 lifestyle choices we can choose to live out, whatever the income status:
- Living below our means
- Living within our means
- Living above our means
To be a steward that’ll accomplish more and experience more blessings, emphasis have to be placed on striving to live below our means of income.
This is a year of spiritual growth, adopting a consecrate praying life is the focal point. 2017 would have its own set of trials and huddles, but the word of God and His unfailing mercy is anchor we need for sustenance.