January: A Word from the Pastor

new yearA new year marks a new beginning.

When people take down the old calendar and put up a new one, they often think of resolutions for the new year. “I will eat less and exercise more; I will talk less and listen more; …” and the list goes on. Some resolutions are kept, others go by the way side, but it is wise to pause for a moment and examine the priorities of life.

Christians place their spiritual lives at the top of the priority list.

First of all, this includes,

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37).

This love for the Lord includes faith in Christ, dependence upon Him, submission to the leading of the Holy Spirit, and fellowship in prayer with the Father in heaven. Since this is our priority, let us determine in the new year to hear the word of God in church, read the word of God every day, and spend time before the throne of grace in prayer.

Our relationship with God is our greatest priority in life.

We are saved because of Him, we live each day because of Him, and we shall one day be in His presence forever. God is our primary focus in life. Our second priority relates to one another.

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39).

This love of neighbor begins with loving those in your immediate circle of life. Love is to be manifested in every home by husbands, wives, dads, moms and children. Godly love for one another is the rule of familial relationships. Then love of neighbor embraces Christians in church. Each one is equipped by the Holy Spirit for live and service in the church. Ministry to the saints is characterized by ministry to one another.

Finally, love of neighbor extends to the world.

Here our priority is the proclamation of the gospel of Christ. Meeting needs and serving the lost is often the context in which ministry of the gospel message to the soul takes place, but true love seeks the greatest good for the lost – meaning salvation in Christ.

As we look at the new calendar for 2015, let us renew our determination to love the Lord with all of our being and to love our neighbors as ourselves.

This will work out differently in every individual Christian, but our focus in life must remain on obedience to the Lord’s commands. Let us pray that this new year will be characterized by faithful obedience in loving God and one another.

– Gary W. Custis