How To Live Successfully In The Coming Year, Part 1

Grace For The Journey

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As we begin a new year I want to use a few of my blogs to look at the Bible and remind ourselves of the truths that lay the foundation for living this year in such a way that allow us to discover more of the power and provisions in our daily lives that will bring glory and honor to God.

The Holy Spirit led the apostle Paul to write to his protégé Timothy.  In 2 Timothy 4:7-8, the Bible says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”

Paul was confident he had

lived and ministered in such a way that

Pleased God and brought glory to Him.”

Sadly, however, just a few sentences later he wrote of one of his coworkers . . . “For Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica ..”  2 Timothy 4:10.

Here were two men who had ministered together – Paul and Demas – mentor and mentoree.  One endured and finished his life and ministry and looked forward to the crown of righteousness.  The other man deserted the Lord and His ministry and was never heard from again. We don’t know what finally happened to Demas.  We don’t know whether he ever repented or not, but the Bible declares the sad fact that “Demas, has forsaken me, having loved this present world.”  In Philemon 24 Paul calls Demas a “fellow worker” along with Mark, Aristarchus, and Luke.

Demas was apparently

A promising young man

With a promising future;

Yet, as far as we know,

He did not make it to the end.

This is a sobering thought for those who are young, committed followers of Jesus Christ.

In God’s gracious providence you

Have many years ahead of you,

And you expect to finish the race,

To stand firm for Him,

And live successfully throughout your life.

I am sure there was a time when Demas also thought that way.  He didn’t initially join Paul’s team with the intention that he would later desert Paul when the going got tough.  He undoubtedly expected to also stand firm and finish well

This is also a sobering thought even for those of us who are older in the faith.  We cannot presume that even at our age we will live successfully all our lives..  We never finish until the day we die.  All of us, young or old, need to heed the warning that comes to us from the example of Demas.

Over the last few years I have given a lot of thought to how one lives successfully in this life . . .

I have come to the conclusion that there

                                                    Are four fundamental actions

We can take to help us be successful

In the coming year and every year.

There may be other issues that are important, but I believe these four are essential and fundamental.  They are . . .

  • A daily time of focused personal communion with God
  • A daily appropriation of the gospel
  • A daily commitment to God as a living sacrifice
  • A firm belief in the sovereignty and love of God

These four essentials are truths that we must and should believe and live out in our lives.  But standing over all of them is the grace of God.  The same apostle who said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” also said in another context, “But by the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Corinthians 15:10).  Paul attributed all of his of his ability to do what God desired, all of his faithfulness, to the grace of God.  As we look at our responsibility, keep in mind that . . .

We are enabled to fulfill that responsibility

Only by the grace of God

The grace of God is often misunderstood.  One of the most common misunderstandings of the grace of God is that it means, “God is cutting me some slack.  Grace is God letting me get away with a few things.”  That’s the furthest thought from the Bible’s teaching on the grace of God.

The grace of God comes to us through Jesus Christ

As a result of His sinless life and sin-bearing death for us.

This kind of grace is more than just God’s kindness and benevolent feeling toward us.  The grace of God is dynamic.  The grace of God is God in action for our good.  When the apostle Paul said, “By the grace of God I am what I am,” he was speaking about . . .

The empowering of the Holy Spirit

That God in His grace supplies

To each of us

As we seek to live for Him.

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

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