By Randy Harshbarger
Revelation 2:10 says: “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” A new year is upon us. This is a time when many are making resolutions for 1993. How did you do with keeping last year’s resolutions? Did you accomplish everything you set out to do? A better question is: What were your goals for this past year and what will they be for the coming days? Will the Lord be included in your plans? Are you making preparations to grow spiritually? Are your dreams and aspirations concerned solely with “this life” and the things therein? Revelation 2:10 speaks to Christians who were being persecuted because of their faith in the Lord. In a very real way, being faithful unto death meant unto the point of death. Even if they were asked to lay their life on the line, they should do so willingly. Are we asked to serve the Lord to such an extreme degree? No, but what would be our reaction if that time came? Actually, you can determine your willingness to serve the Lord in difficult times by how you are serving the Lord now. When the times are favor-able for spreading the gospel and worshipping the Father above, do you use every opportunity to put the Lord first? Why do you think that you would give up your life for the Lord, when you will not even put him first now. Jesus plainly says to put him first (Matt. 6:33). As the new year begins let us be concerned about “the good part” that cannot be taken away (Mk. 10:48).
There will be disappointments this year. Family trouble, a financial crisis, or even trouble on the job will surely come to some. Will we continue to faithfully do the Lord’s will in spite of these problems? Undoubtedly Jesus was disappointed when his followers turned away (Jn. 6:66-69). Paul experienced heartache as his once faithful co-workers turned away in his time of need. Christians are not immune from troubles (Job 14:1). Let us resolve not to let anything or anyone turn us away from the Lord.
Satan will be seeking to gain an advantage over us during this year. He seeks our spiritual destruction (1 Pet. 5:8). The Lord provides the way of escape; let us make sure we look for it and use it (1 Cor. 10:13).
We continue to be blessed beyond measure in the riches of this world. Are our possessions possessing us or do we possess them? “I have to work all the time.” “I have to make ends meet.” Is this really true? Is your soul worth all that you are working for? The things of this life have a way of choking out the true riches that should be in our hearts (Lk. 8:14). Are you working for a good retirement in this life or in the one to come (Lk. 12:15-21)? Faithful stewardship means that we willingly give back to the Lord what is his already (1 Cor. 4:2). The rich fall into a trap that is hard to get out of (1 Tim. 6:6-8).
Let our resolve this year be that our reward in heaven is the one goal we will work for. Let everything else be secondary. Put the Lord first. Seek heaven. When we do that, we have blessings now and in the world to come, eternal life!
Guardian of Truth XXXV: 1, p.1
January 7, 1993