“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me . . .”
— Psalm 23:6
Do you have bright hopes and ambitious plans for the year ahead? I think we should purpose to make this year a great one for God’s glory. But how can we do that? We lay our plans and make our resolutions, and yet, sometimes what we deemed the year of great prospects turns out to be a year of disaster. One recent study found that seventy percent of people couldn’t keep their new year resolutions even through the month of January, much less the whole year.
So how can you and I make this new year great? Let me offer a prescription of five elements that can contribute to an excellent year . . . even to a successful life. You can find these elements in Proverbs 3:1-10, wherein God promises that if we obey His commands, we will experience “long life and peace.” As you read through the passage, you’ll find these themes:
- Keep God’s commands for a long and happy life.
- Live by mercy and truth for popularity and a good reputation.
- Trust in and acknowledge the Lord for direction and guidance.
- Fear the Lord, and forsake evil for good health.
- Honor and give to the Lord your possessions for financial well-being.
Generally speaking, if you follow each command, you’ll receive each corresponding reward. But keep in mind that these are general principles, not guarantees. Many people who live good and godly lives do not experience all five consequences.
Neither are these “five easy steps” to Paradise. We don’t achieve admittance to Heaven by following any set of rules or living a good life. The Bible makes it abundantly clear that we receive salvation by God’s grace only; never by human works. But if we love Jesus, we want to show Him that love by obeying His Word.
This year ask God to show you what goals He has for you. Then ask Him how you can achieve those goals. Submit yourself to Him and purpose to love Him in all you do, and you’ll most definitely have a happy and spiritually prosperous year.