What do You Expect in 2018?

Nena Arias | January 1, 2018

What will the year 2018 bring us? There seems to be optimism and dread at the same time. Optimism due to the expectation of better economic times and dread due to the threat of nuclear war and conflicts among the nations.

Why should the turning of a calendar page make any difference? Does the beginning of a new year have something different than any other day or time in a person’s life? If not, why put off or use a new year as an excuse to not get started today on what you want to improve in your life?

Every day that you wake up to a new day is a new opportunity to work on bettering yourself. As a matter of fact, to have a better life seems to be the most popular resolution anyway. So why not get started today? Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is in God’s sole jurisdiction and we are not assured to have a tomorrow. So today is the best day to include something in your day to get closer to your ultimate goals in life regardless of what calendar day or year it is.

I know that a New Year's resolution is a tradition, however, according to statistics, only 8 percent of people actually keep their New Year's resolutions. There are many reasons people can't stick to their resolutions, too often they are setting too many of them and getting derailed by small failures. People have the best of intentions to better their lives and they set their mind to accomplish bigger and better goals.

Most people’s goals for 2018 will sound much like this: My goal for 2018 is to accomplish the goals of 2017, which I should have done in 2016 because I promised them in 2015 and planned in 2014! In other words, “It ain’t happenin’!” There is a saying that says, if you have to eat an elephant, start one bite at a time. Meaning, do something today to get you closer to your goals.

On the other hand, what does your life look like from God’s perspective? You can rest assured that God has designed a very personalized plan since before you were born.  We get this understanding from the life of Jeremiah. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5)

Each human is created in the image of God and therefore a very specific sublime purpose to fulfill, so is the image of God in anyone else any different than the one in Jeremiah? There is no indication of that.

In the New Testament, Paul tells us this in Ephesians 1:4-5 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.”

The Psalmist records this in the following passage: “My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.  Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” (Psalm 139:15-16)

Our life is definitely God’s idea and design. He has been following our entire earthly trajectory and he knows exactly where we are at this point in our process and has prepared exactly what we need to further us in his plan in this new year and every year that we will be on earth, so the date of a new calendar year is no different than today.

Please don’t misunderstand God’s Word or me; living out God’s will does not mean it is devoid of pain and suffering. Just think back to the most painful experiences of your life, if you made the right choices in that circumstance and even afterwards, you learned much. It is those experiences that matured you by leaps and bounds.

The great part of acquiring God’s knowledge for our lives is that it will make us discern and reject all falsehoods that seek to drag us down and detour us from the path to everlasting life. Those experiences of deep learning enable us to be more than victorious over all circumstances.

The other aspect of our lives is that we must be aware that there is a war going on and earth is the battleground between two forces. The battle is between the children of God and the children of Satan. It is no mistake that you and I were born at such a time as this. It is clear that our world and our society are in deep trouble. Although we can’t do everything to change it, we must take courage and do something according to God’s plan. God says we are vital in making a difference with his help and he is counting on us.

History has recorded the stories of many people of all ages and walks of life that made a difference to make this world a better place. Even though there are still too many evil people in this world, it does not mean God has lost the war—far from it.

The life of Jesus, of course, is a great example of the difference a life can make. But the Bible also records the lives of many characters whose life and calling also made a great difference and they can encourage us to do the same. Joshua is one we can learn from. He was born a slave in Egypt. He became Moses’s right-hand-man and successor in the leadership of Israel who lead them to victory into the Promised Land. His faithfulness to God and his calling made him unique and gave him his highest accomplishment of fulfilling God’s will for his life. 

Granted, there are those who do evil in the world, but there are those who do good. With God we can go above and beyond our human strength and do exploits. … But the people who know their God shall stand firm and do exploits” (Daniel 11:32). The true people of God must act in favor of what God wants to happen.