As I mentioned in my previous post, 2015 had some pretty rough moments. I am prayerful that 2016 will be a hard year, too, so that I can continue to grow in Christ and become more like Him. I know I have such a long way to go, and trials are the ways He perfects me. Along the way, I have learned quite a few valuable lessons from the past year, and perhaps these two can bless your life as they have mine.
Life is short, but eternity is forever
Last Sunday as I sat at my third funeral in as many weeks, I realized that time is not guaranteed. Perhaps I’d realized that long ago, but December showed me. December rocked me. December solidified that we have no idea how much time we have on this earth. In three weeks, I’ve been to a funeral for a two and a half year old, a forty year old, and a seventy year old. Their time on earth was all a different span, but their eternity will be the same.
All of us will face eternity, just like these three precious souls, and it will be a place of our choosing. If we’ve chosen to live our lives dedicated to our God, He will not forsake us. He will deliver on His promises. If, however, we’ve chosen to live lives away from Him, why would we expect an eternity that is any different? Because you don’t know how many days of 2016 you’ll see, or if you’ll see any of 2017, why not choose to live every day of this brand new year for our Lord? If you want an eternity with Him, you must live this side of life on His side.
True friendship is found with Christ
When you measure your success by your friendships, you do yourself a disservice. You’ll only realize that when you lose a friendship. When people walk out of your life, it has a way of sobering you. Shocking and rocking you, if I’m being honest. And it’s only in those lonely moments that you realize how much you’d been resting and relying on these earthly friendships. Obviously having friends is a beautiful thing God has blessed us with, but all things are blessings in their proper place. Just as food, water, and clothing are blessings if you seek God above them (Matt. 6:33), so are friendships.
Make sure that your main friendship is with Christ. Be sure that when you sing the familiar hymn, “I have found a friend in Jesus, He’s everything to me,” that you mean it. Talk to Him more than your other friends. Value His guidance more than others. Spend time communing with Him, reflecting on His life, engaged in His story. And when other friends leave or disappoint, your True Friend will get you through, just as He does everything else this life throws at you.
2016 can be the best year of your life, if you’ll spend it in service to the King of Kings. It will likely bring hardship, but we are more than conquerers through Jesus. And, we are promised a crown of life if we will but overcome. We can do it! Because heaven will surely be worth it all!