Another year has passed us by. One thing about January is that many of us use it as a time to refocus. A fresh start is sometimes good and starting a new habit or a resolution on the first day of the year helps people stick to it (or that’s what we try to tell ourselves anyways). This year I didn’t set any major goals or resolutions. I have a few personal things that I’ll be working on, such as reading through the Bible with Sakshi and Paisley. I have a renewed desire to just keep doing what I’ve been doing, and to do it more effectively in the new year.
As I was dwelling on these things last week, the phrase “lift up Christ” came to my mind. I realized that I can do better in 2018 if I will purposefully and deliberately lift up Christ. See, we have a new year, new goals, but we serve the same God and He is worthy to be exalted each day. These are three important ways in which we can lift up Christ:
1) In our speech
If we believe in an Omnipresent God, then we should believe that every word we say matters. This thought is humbling. Our lips flow so freely with the right words when we are around church friends, but do we speak the same way in front of those who do not know Christ? Do we really believe that God is with us always?
I have determined to use my speech to lift up Christ this year.
Psalm 63:3 “Because thy loving kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.”
2) In our conduct
Again, do we believe that God is always with us? If we do, then our conduct should reflect that. We can exalt the Lord by our every day life. Whether it is in how we choose to spend our time, the clothes we wear, or the music we listen to, we have many opportunities to show the Lord that we love Him.
Some of you may be thinking, “This sounds like legalism.” Please understand that making the decision to include Christ in every aspect of your life is not legalism. The teaching of legalism says “Do this, and salvation is yours. If you do not abide by these standards, your eternity is in jeopardy.” This is a false teaching because the Bible clearly says “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8, 9)
The Bible also says in Romans 6:15, “What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.” We are warned against abusing the grace of God. Yes, we can know that heaven is our home, but that is not a license to sin. We should be striving to please and glorify the Lord with all that we do. This applies to our speech as well. Jesus said in John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” If we love God, we will obey Him.
I have determined to use my conduct to lift up Christ this year.
3) In our hearts
God knows our every thought. As Christians, we recognize this, but we often have the attitude of “I wouldn’t say it, but I’m sure thinking it.” Guilty over here! What if we spent more time silently dwelling on pure and lovely things (Philippians 4:8) and less time allowing negativity and worry into our minds? When wrong thoughts enter our mind, we should confess them to God and ask Him to replace those thoughts with things that are right.
I have determined to use my heart to lift up Christ this year.
Psalm 119:7 “I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.”
I would love to hear how God has been speaking to you in this new year as well. It is so amazing that we have a Father Who communes with each of us personally. I mean, do you ever feel like you’re His only child just because of how closely He cares? This is yet another reason to lift up Christ every day.