It can be hard to come up with a New Year’s resolution or goal. Do we pick a certain word—like courage, family, or declutter—to dictate our 2019? Do we hone in on our health and enforce a new diet or exercise regimen into our days? Should it involve our finances and building up an emergency fund? Or do we even bother with it since a measly 8% of people actually keep their resolutions?
If you were sitting across from the apostle Paul, having coffee and asking these very questions, he might be nodding. Yes, God’s called us to be courageous. Yes, our health is important—our bodies are the very temple of the Holy Spirit. And we are certainly called to be good stewards of the money God has generously given us.
But here we see if Paul had to choose one focus for your year, it would simply be, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” That may be abstract, you maybe would like a little more meat to it. But God’s commandments and the requirements of His law can all be summed up in that one command to love one another.
And this call, this way of life, this focus is urgent. Because we aren’t promised next year—we aren’t even promised tomorrow. In Paul’s words: “Time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here.”
There are neighbors who are far from Christ, family who have yet to know Him, and friends still living in the darkness. Their eternity is at stake, and time is running out. So how should we spend our days? By loving others. Clothing ourselves with the presence of Jesus. And not letting one day go by without telling someone the Good News.
The end is nearer than when we first believed, and God is empowering and expecting us to spread the Gospel. This year, may we take our eyes off ourselves—because we already belong to the day. Instead, may we fix our eyes on those in the darkness, and like Paul, do whatever it takes to save some.
- Think about the specific people that will cross your path today. What would it look like to love them as yourself?
- If we want to run with purpose this year, let’s write down 1 Corinthians 9:22 and place it somewhere we’ll see often each and every day: “Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some.” Together, let’s pray: “Jesus, teach me how to run with purpose in every step this year. Empower my actions and open doors and conversations, so I can spread the Good News and share in its blessings.”
Love Fulfills God’s Requirements
8 Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. 9 For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.” These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.
11 This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living. 13 Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. 14 Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.