As believers in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, many of us have found 2020 to be a tough year to live out our faith calling. We have been constrained in many of the activities whereby we could have assisted in sharing hope with those in need in our world today.
However, we also know that enduring hardship helps us develop perseverance and grows our faith. With that in mind, I want to extend a call to my fellow Christians to put 2020 behind us and to build upon our trials as we begin 2021 with new resolve to spread God's Word and advance His Kingdom.
So, here are my suggested Christian New Year's Resolutions for 2021:
- Take every thought captive. As negative or complaining thoughts come to mind about what happened in 2020, focus instead on a positive that resulted from it or how you can turn it into a positive for 2021.
- Run the race that is set before us. Any competitive runner knows that, in order to win the race, you can't let yourself be distracted by what the other runners are doing around you or keep looking back at what (or who) is behind you. You must stay focused on your course alone, eyes always forward. Let us not get distracted with all that is going on in culture and politics—and there is a lot—neither let us compare ourselves to others and their experiences. Our individual futures and spiritual growth are determined by us and God alone—no one else.
- Take what we have learned into the New Year. One thing 2020 taught us was to adapt and pivot, to be flexible and creative in figuring out ways to still accomplish our goals. Those lessons can continue to serve us well as we have learned to expand the ways in which we can reach out to others and share the love of Jesus Christ despite a variety of obstacles or limitations.
- Press on toward the prize. Never forget the end game of our individual activities and missions. The ultimate goal is to win souls for the kingdom, so we must prioritize our activity—especially as things begin to return to normal—and not let busyness prevent us from getting down to business. At The Hope Center, where I serve as president, we empower more than 60 different Christian ministries in expanding their impact. They do this in a variety of ways, from meeting physical needs of orphans in the developing world to counseling with families in crisis here in the U.S., but they universally focus on our Lord and Savior's final commission to us: go and make disciples. May we each do the same, whatever our individual giftings and callings.
- Prepare for the battles ahead. While we have long enjoyed the freedom of religion in our great nation, a different future may lie in store for evangelical Christianity. Even though our governmental system was founded on Judeo-Christian values, we have seen the gradual erosion of those values from our civil and public institutions. I fear it is only a matter of time before Christian organizations will not only no longer have freedom to act in accordance with biblical values but will be attacked for doing so. As followers of Jesus, it is more important than ever that we know what we believe, why we believe it and be willing to stand for those beliefs no matter the cost.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, will you join me in putting the past behind us and pressing on toward our future and the high calling of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?
Lt. Col. (ret.) Allen West is president and CEO of The Hope Center, a 501(c)(3) incubator of Christian ministries making a global impact for God's Kingdom. It serves as a center point for Christian activity and ministry here in North Texas, providing professional resources, ideas, mentoring and training to empower ministries to magnify their reach. Lt. Col. West is a combat veteran, former Member of the U.S. Congress, an author and speaker, and chair of the Texas GOP.
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