In just a few days, 2021 will come to an end. It’s been a difficult year for many. The pandemic continues to influence our lives in various ways. Our economy is struggling and the words “supply chain” have become familiar to us. It seems like there is more uncertainty and tension than there was two years ago. 2020 was difficult and 2021 has been challenging as well.
Of course, for some, 2021 has been a great year. Babies have been born in 2021 and we have celebrated their arrival. Marriages have taken place in 2021 and families have been established. Job promotions have been accomplished during this past year. We have celebrated graduations, anniversaries and other life events that reveal God’s blessing to us. 2021 has been a year of blessing to several of us.
This isn’t unusual. Each year presents challenges and blessings. Each year is celebrated by some and dismissed by others. Each year means different things to each of us.
As you think about the year ahead, have you ever wondered how you can make 2022 “the best year ever”. How can you ensure that on December 31, 2022, you look back at a year for which you are thankful and for which you have been blessed?
In Matthew 4, Jesus begins his ministry and calls his first disciples. It’s in the three phrases spoken by Jesus that we receive wisdom that can ensure this is a great year for us.
First, in Matthew 4:17, Jesus calls his followers to “Repent”. As we approach this coming year, have we acknowledged and repented of the sin in our lives. Have we identified those actions and attitudes that are leading us away from God? Are we willing to admit and confront, with the help of the Holy Spirit, those sins that damage our walk with Christ and witness to others? In order for 2022 to be “the best year ever”, we need to begin with repentance and aligning our heart with God’s heart.
Next, in verse 17, Jesus states that “the kingdom of heaven is at hand”. As this new year begins,are you looking for ways to serve and glorify God in His kingdom. Are you concerned about the things that concern Jesus? Are you sharing the hope of Christ with your friends and family that need that hope? Are you helping the poor and neglected find hope by your kindness and service to them? Are you being discipled into the image of Christ each day? If we seek “the kingdom” in 2022, we will have “the best year ever”.
Finally, Jesus tells Peter and Andrew to “follow me” in Matthew 4:19. That is Jesus’s desire for all of us. As we enter 2022, are you willing to follow him? Are you willing to read his teachings and the examples of love, kindness and compassion that fill the Gospels? Are you willing to “pick up your cross daily” and follow him? Are you willing to let Christ lead you throughout this year, regardless of what that might mean? Jesus tends to lead us through some uncomfortable encounters, yet it’s in these encounters that we grow and are blessed. If you want 2022 to be “the best year ever”, you have to be committed to following Jesus.
Repent. Seek the kingdom. Follow him. If we do these three things in the coming year, we can truly say that 2022 is “the best year ever”, because we have spent it growing closer to Jesus. If we continue this, each year will be better than the last as we continue to grow in Christ’s image and love.
I hope that 2022 is your best year ever. Pursue Jesus and stay close to him and it truly will be.
Misty, Davidson and I wish you a “Happy New Year”!