At the start of a new year, it is a common practice for many people in the Christian faith tradition to choose some portion of Scripture as a motto or mantra.
This year I choosing the following verses:
“Love the Lord, all his faithful people!
The Lord preserves those who are true to him,
but the proud he pays back in full.
Be strong and take heart,
all you who hope in the Lord.” – Psalm 31:23-24
I see two truths about God, two commands and a warning.
The truths are:
God is worthy of our love and our hope.
In the coming year, there will be a myriad of attractions that will vie for our adoration and love. There is only one being that is worthy to be the love of our life: God. This year I want to fall more and more in love with God, the maker of Heaven and Earth.
As there will be many attractions seeking our love in the new year, there will also be many voices calling out to us to ask us to put our confidence in them. During this election year, I want to remind myself that my hope is not in the stock market, in the medical system, in the economy, in the strength of the US military; my only hope is in the Lord God who bowed to earth in Jesus the Christ.
The commands are:
Love God and be strong.
As I noted above the world is an enticing place and will offer me many opportunities to give my soul to them. I am reminded that my love must be directed to God and God alone. All else in my life flows from this central focus. It is my desire to fulfill the first command: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.
It is interesting to me that God works in weakness, yet, here, we are commanded to be strong. I don’t think this is one of those “Grit your teeth and be strong” statements. We realize that any strength we have is a gift from God. The issue is not the amount of strength we have but in who we are relying on for our strength. Be strong in the Lord! is the message.
Finally, a warning:
We are warned that God is not a fan of the proud. If we truly love God, we know that God is the source of our life not ourselves. We live by God’s permission and goodness.
Ask God to give you a Scripture you can live by in 2016.
Ronald Friesen © 2016