January 05, 2014

Earnest Expectations And Hope

Wishing everyone a God-blessed and Happy New Year! As we begin the year, we often naturally set academic goals for ourselves, like how many “A”s or “B”s we would like to have in our subject combination. How about setting goals for our spiritual life and ministry? If 2013 was not a good year, let’s start anew and seek to make 2014 a better year. If 2013 was a good year, then let’s scale towards new heights and goals and make 2014 an even better year. The apostle Paul had earnest expectations of himself and his ministry and he fulfilled them with a tremendous hope in the Lord and His word (Philippians 1:20). Let’s also set personal spiritual goals for ourselves that would help direct our year. Let’s hope in God that He would help us fulfil them.

Setting Personal Spiritual Goals

As I reflect on my first day of the year, three personal spiritual goals come to mind for 2014.

1. Pressing On Towards The Upward Call Of God

“I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” 
Philippians 3:14

The word “press toward” in the Greek is the idea of “pursue, persecute”. Pastor was explaining to us at the Youth Conference that the same energy that Paul used to persecute the Christians before he came to faith was now used to pursue the upward call. Our challenge is to go upwards towards what the Lord has laid hold of us for and not go downwards. We are to spare no effort in pursuing the goal of receiving the prize that comes with attaining the upward call of God. This is found in Christ and in His example of how He lived His life and served the Lord. We also see this sense of calling in Paul’s life. Let’s be even more determined to press towards this upward call of God.

2. Deepening Our Love For The Brethren

“That your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment” 
Philippians 1:9

Another goal that we should consider as we serve the Lord is having a deeper love for the brethren. This fruit of love was evident in the Church at Philippi. There was that obvious love that the Philippians had for Paul and vice versa. And yet, that love can be cultivated further. It can grow by leaps and bounds. Paul’s challenged the Philippians to have a love that would grow abundantly as they grew in knowledge of God and His word and in understanding and judgment. Our hearts can certainly appreciate even more the Lord’s love that He had poured out on us through the Spirit (Romans 5:58). Let’s take time to pray that our love for each other will abound in 2014.

3. Seeking To Walk By Faith And Not By Sight

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 
2 Corinthians 5:7

Last but not least, Pastor challenged us at the Down Memory Lane Service to have a faith that is filled with Biblical content rather than one that is empty. 2014 may be a challenging year for some. Our part is to ensure that we would be ready for any difficulties that may come our way. There must come a deep sense of confidence in the Lord, knowing that we have a place in eternity with Him. We are to be accountable to God and to be compelled by His love to share with others about our faith. We thank God for the testimony of Jerrie Jiang at the Christmas day worship service. She spoke of how she continues to have faith in the Lord despite her cancer problem. If we were to face with what she has, would we also be able to exercise faith in God? Let’s seek to have a more concrete faith for 2014.

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