How do you feel about your life? What has to happen in your life that will make you feel really positive about your life? Would making more money do it? Driving an expensive car? Living in a fancy home, wearing pricey clothes? Would having the right friends? Would a promotion do it?
What would it take to make you feel positive about your life? Indeed, for many the last few years of this economic recession has brought setbacks, failures, financial reversals and difficulties resulting in unfulfilled dreams, disappointments and uncompleted goals.
As you enter the New Year, the message for you is don’t give up. Maintain a positive attitude towards yourself that you can do all things through Jesus Christ that will strengthen you. (Philippians 4:13). That was Paul’s approach to life. Paul was no stranger to difficult times. In the Book of Philippians, Paul was in prison, chained to a Roman soldier. However, in spite of his situation; he wrote some powerful and positive words in Philippians 3:13-14:
“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Paul had been through a lot. He had been shipwrecked. Not once but 4 times. He had been arrested and placed in jail. He had been beaten, mistreated, stoned, and left for dead. People plotted to take his life. He had been stranded. He has been unjustly accused. He had been even misunderstood by his co-workers. Instead of an attitude filled with negativity and pessimism, Paul wrote to the Philippians with an air of confidence.
It is amazing that as much as he endured, Paul wrote a most personal letter that brings assurance, encouragement, and hope to the believers in Philippi. The dominant note of his letter is joy. He found joy in his relationship with the Lord.
When you look at what happened to Paul, he had every right, and every excuse to throw up his hands, throw in the towel, and walk away. Yet by Paul’s own testimony, he said that he had fought a good fight for Jesus Christ and he stayed the course.
How was Paul able to maintain a positive outlook on life when he had every right to give up? Paul was able to get in front of the former things and look forward to a future with Christ Jesus.
Often we spend our time either feeling guilty and ashamed of our past mistakes or failures, or troubled because of our present circumstances. Consequently, we live our lives looking through the lens of negativity instead of focusing on the here and now. As we start the New Year, focus on where God wants to take you and what God wants to do for you. Get up in the morning and began looking forward to tomorrow. Paul’s goal was eternal life with Jesus. For believers, heaven is also our goal.
If our goal is eternal life with Jesus, then we must view all the little setbacks in our life as stepping-stones to move us closer to the time when we will be with our Lord. There will be disappointments in life, but every day is a day closer to the time when we will be with Jesus. For we know that “All things” do “work together for good to those who love God and are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
The world defines success and happiness and the way to feel good about yourself is by winning the lottery, making a lot of money, living in the right place, driving the right car, shopping at the right stores and receiving a lot of accolades for your achievements.
However, the Bible teaches us that we are to feel good about ourselves simply because God loves us. You are such a treasured vessel in God’s sight that He gave His only begotten Son for you. (John 3:16). That makes you valuable, and you can feel good about yourself.
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” Isaiah 43:19a
The writer does not assume responsibility in any way for readers’ efforts to apply or utilize information or recommendations made in these articles, as they may not be necessarily appropriate for every situation to which they may refer. Rather, the objective is strictly informative and educational. If you would like to contact Rev. Lester, write to her c/o Fellowship of Love M.B.C. at P.O. Box 121, Brookfield, WI. 53008.