No, O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ the entire law and the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.'” Matthew 22:37-40
Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Romans 12:9-13
Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct. Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest an everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith. Galatians 6:4-5, 7-10
Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. Ephesians 5:1-2
So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Ephesians 5:15-17
So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. 1 Corinthians 15:58
For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. and we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds. Titus 2:14
CONSIDER:It’s the start of another New Year and a time when most of us try to decide on new resolutions and goals for the coming year. I don’t know about you, but this often frustrates me. I spend precious time brain-storming a “new me” for the coming year, and then become overwhelmed by my ambitious ideas within the first few months…well maybe even weeks…ok, sometimes even the first few days! Is there something wrong with me? Do other people struggle like this? I read books on productivity and listen to podcasts by women who seem to have it all together and I wonder, “Why can’t I be like that?” Is this the best way to be successful? Isn’t there a simpler way? Is this what God expects of me? I believe there is a simpler way to plan our lives and a way to live that gives God glory and honors Him. Life does not have to be this complicated mass of goals and planning that often leave us feeling like complete failures. While there is nothing wrong with big dreams and plans, we sometimes strive to become “successful” at the wrong things and neglect to work at the very things God puts in our path. What if we simply decided to walk with God and do good works right where we are for His glory? What would that look like? Matthew 5:16 tells us: “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (NIV) Dan Cathy, president of Chick-Fil-A quotes Matthew this way:
“Let your light so shine before others that they may see your parking lots and give glory to your father in heaven.” Dan CathyIn other words, good works are the things we do every day in faith. My every day living–working, cleaning the house, cooking meals, being a mom, wife, friend–these are good works when I do them for the benefit of others and for God’s glory. In fact, doing things for the benefit of others is a key theme throughout the Bible.
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. Philippians 2:3-4
Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others 1 Corinthians 10:24Matt Perman speaks about this In his book, “What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done”.
Don’t just try to get things done; seek to serve others to the glory of God in everything you do. More than that, be proactive and enthusiastic in doing good for others… Upon initially hearing that we are to put others before ourselves, we can fear that this means things are going to go bad for us. Who will look out for us? It may seem like no one will because so many people in the world are about achieving their own welfare first. But the answer is that you won’t be left without anyone looking out for you. For God himself will have your back. And God is able to provide for you and support you better than any human, and certainly better than you are able to provide for yourself. – Matt Perman, “What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done”This concept that when we put others first, God provides for our needs is confirmed in 2 Corinthians 9:7-8:
You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully. And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. 2 Corinthians 9:7-8Understanding this has allowed me to re-focus my goals, not just for this new year, but for my life. They are four very simple goals, but ones that I know I will spend a lifetime working toward.
- Love God because He loves me like crazy. I’m a responder by nature so the more I recognize God’s love for me, the more I long to love him in return.
- Love My Family because God has blessed me with them and entrusted them to me to love and serve them for His glory.
- Love Others because God primarily uses people just like me to show others how much he loves them.
- Love My Self – This one is not a direct Biblical mandate because most people naturally love themselves. But I want to remind myself that God loves me so much that He gave His son Jesus as a sacrifice in my place. He considers me worthy of His love and I am precious to Him, so I should have this same love and consideration for myself.
PRAY:Heavenly Father, as I plan my year, months, weeks, days and hours, help me to keep my focus on you. Help me to do good works for the good of others and for Your glory always…
Michele is married to the love of her life, Jeff. She has 3 grown children and 1 very sweet grandson! Most days you can find Michele laughing with good friends, writing, or working with women. In the evenings she enjoys spending time in a few creative outlets like creative lettering, drawing, painting, and pottery. She loves snuggling with her dog, Tebow, and reading. But one of her favorite passions is playing with her grandson and laughing at his bright smile! You can find her most weekends worshiping at our Real Life Clermont campus.