I was going to start the year off with the traditional review of last year and what we all hope for this new year. But after seeing the loss of so many wonderful people, debating the cultural divides occurring in our country, and frankly becoming quite disgusted by many of the things happening all around us, I changed my mind because I’m becoming, just plain fed-up!
So, I ask all of you – do you TRULY want 2022 to be a better year?
Do you TRULY want to help our culture embrace love, kindness, and respect?
Or do you want to remain on the sidelines, doing your own thing, and hoping you can just leave the world alone and let it turn without you, so that you are not only not impacted or affected, but also so you don’t have to do anything different, to help make this world a better place?
The fact is, there is evil in this world, and it has been here since Adam and Eve ignored God and let Satan trick them into following him instead of God. The fact is that this world is Satan’s to rule. And Satan will rule it, the best he can, by bringing crime, hate, bigotry, divide, and pure evil to all he can. The only thing Satan cannot do, is tear away true believers, and lovers, of God, from God’s love and grace. So, the only way to concur this world, and keep Satan away from our lives, is to have a true relationship with Jesus and to walk with Him every step of our lives.
I honestly don’t have or know the perfect way to do this, as I have fallen short as much, or more, than most. But I do know there are many things we can do to counter Satan’s efforts and influence. Here are just a few that are proven to help:
1. Spend every day in God’s Word – start and end each day praying to God and reading through or reflecting upon His word from the Bible.
Fifty-one times in the Bible we are directed to read and heed, the word of God. The most applicable comes from the Apostle Paul in Romans 15:4; “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide, we might have hope.”
2. Dedicate yourself to removing all judgement from your thoughts, your words, and from your mind. I know it’s tough and nearly impossible, but it can be done – just ask God for the strength to do so. When I started this business, I made a commitment to never put in writing, a negative thought or comment about anyone. To date, I have been able to keep this commitment, even though I certainly still have those negative thoughts from time-to-time.
Fifty-two times in the Bible we are directed not to judge one another. The most applicable comes from Jesus Himself as told by Luke in Luke 6:37; “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
3. Be Positive, with others, in your thoughts and actions, and to yourself. Negativity has created more bad results than any mindset or action possible. Thousands of studies abound to prove out this point. Even when you don’t feel positive, make yourself ignore the negatives and put a positive spin on them.
Fifty-two times in the Bible we are directed to be positive. The most applicable comes from Jeremiah in Jeremiah 29:11; “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
4. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS show respect!!! Even when you feel the person you encounter is someone you cannot support or agree with. Everyone has their view and differing opinions and lifestyles are life – they are prevalent and will always be around us, like them or not. But we must treat everyone with respect … agree with them, like them, or not.
Forty-nine times in the Bible we are directed to be respectful. The most applicable comes from the Apostle Peter in 1 Peter 2:17; “Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.”
5. Along with respect comes love. God loves me…He loves you…He loves everyone…in spite of all our sins and shortcomings. If God can see past all the negatives we have done, supported, or thought, and still love us, then we must show our love to everyone. We must do so through our thoughts, actions, and communications.
OVER ONE THOUSAND times in the Bible we are directed to love God and/or love one another. Clearly love is critically important to God. Jesus declared so when He was asked which commandment was the most important. Along with such a declaration from Jesus, comes these words from the Apostle Paul in Corinthians 13:4-7; “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
6. Be committed. Many of us spend flashes of time doing the right things, with the right thoughts, and the best actions. But we have lapses in these positives and turn away from what we know is right. Stay committed to the Word of God. Stay committed to love, respect, staying positive, and endeavoring to never be judgmental. If we stay committed, far more times than not, we will be successful and our momentary lapses will occur far less often.
Twenty-three times in the Bible we are directed to have commitment, or be/stay committed. The most applicable comes from 1 Kings 8:61; “And may your hearts be fully committed to the Lord our God, to live by his decrees and obey his commands, as at this time.”
7. Keep the faith. God loves you, and He will never leave you. Even when it feels He doesn’t hear your prayers, or has left you because of something you have done, remember that God never leaves us and He hears every prayer. God will act in His time, when He feels we need it most.
Twenty-five times in the Bible we are directed to have faith or be faithful. The most applicable comes from the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 2:8; “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.”
8. Exercise proper Parenting, and teach it to your children. Being a parent who cares and loves by leading, directing, and nurturing their children, while utilizing all of the attributes stated here, is essential. The Bible clearly tells us how to raise, coach, and lead our children. Teach this to your children so that they may follow your lead and teach their children the same.
Twenty-five times in the Bible we are directed to be strong parents. The most applicable comes from King Solomon in Proverbs 22:6; “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old, they will not turn from it.”
9. Don’t put yourself in bad situations or surround yourself with bad people.
By knowing and understanding the Word of God, in the Bible, it is relatively easy to understand what situations we should and should not be in. It is also clear what type of people we should be around and we should surround ourselves in community. When we choose to not follow this guidance, we can often find ourselves around people who would do wrong or in situations that often lead to sin or other bad events. If we don’t allow ourselves to be in such situations or with such people, we are far less likely to get into bad situations or habits.
Twenty-five times in the Bible we are directed to question our situations or to not seek out situations that are not Godly. The most applicable comes from the Apostle Paul in Philippians 4:12; “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”
10. Take accountability or be accountable. The more advanced the world gets and the more technology enhances our lives and ability to do more and more things, the easier it is to blame others, or something else, for our decisions and/or actions. We absolutely must hold ourselves, and our children, accountable. God will eventually do this for and to us, but why wait for that judgement day when we can do this ourselves, right now. It is so very common to hear others say I did something because of some other thing that happened. The question needs to be – who did it? Not why or what other factor, but who did the action or whom made the decision…that’s accountability.
Twenty-four times in the Bible we are directed to be accountable. The most applicable comes from the book of Job 31:14; “What will I do when God confronts me? What will I answer when called to account?”
How many times does the Bible mention these things or attributes to learn and follow? In total I count at least 1,278 times. Regardless of how many times and how many messages from God Himself, we often times think we know better. Fact is, we don’t – God Knows, and it is because of His incredible love and grace that he has told us, so many many times, how we need to live!
I say I’m fed up because the world is ignoring these positive and essential traits to a good life. We rarely see these things on the news. Our offices are cluttered with the complainers who seem to only focus on the negatives, and our culture has become very me centric, saying that “Me” alone deserves and is entitled. God didn’t create the world for us to have such a short-sided bias and selfishness. He created the world for us to have community, to prosper, to have family, and to put love above all else. Love is mentioned over one thousand times in the Bible, so God’s desire, and direction, should be so very obvious.
Want to have a good day, month, year…LIFE? Commit yourself to always practicing these ten thoughts/beliefs, and God will bless you beyond anything you can imagine. The result will be that you truly love and embrace life, and you won’t have to constantly say you are just plain fed up.