Keeping The Right Focus In The New Year
Ramon Arias | January 2, 2017
As Christians, we are supposed to have an advantage over those who lack knowledge about the reality of life. Did I say, “supposed to”? Yes, I did, and here is the reason why: Not all Christians have proper understanding that all life and social institutions ought to be understood and ought to function from God’s full counsel as revealed in Scripture, that is the Bible. This lack of knowledge is an impediment to fully engage in a meaningful life and make the expected contribution to improve things.
Planning is a requirement and must not be ignored. Believe it or not, planning and goal setting is a daily affair from the moment we get up until we lie down for the night. The discipline is there, and the same principle can be applied to our planning and goal setting. By the way this isn’t wishful thinking but it does require for us to know what we want to achieve and what are the means to accomplish our goals. God designed us in such a special way that we will never find fulfillment in life until we achieve the purpose of our salvation in Christ Jesus, which is to make the difference in a world that is dominated by spiritual and intellectual darkness.
It is not uncommon to fall for the lie that traps most people in thinking they cannot make any difference to better society, not only this perception is wrong but it also robs others from a positive contribution. Think about the truth in the following quote:
"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do this something that I can do." –Edward Everett Hale
What is the right focus that we need to keep in mind as we face the New Year?
We must not see the Bible separately from all of life, rather, we need to learn and apply the principles revealed in every page. We have to see the world through God's eyes; that's the reason we have the Bible. Those who want to see and fix the world by using a pair of secular glasses can never get it right. It is precisely by adopting the fictitious secular worldview that we now face all the problems we see in the world in the different areas of education, law, politics, commerce, international relations, health, hunger, poverty, family conflicts, etc.
When Paul wrote to the Colossians, “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27), this was to emphasize that every person becomes God's expression in everything they do, and this includes the vocation they have in life. The biblical concept of worship is not confined within the four walls of a church building, it is the focus and the well-deserved praises to the Godhead; worship is what we express in our daily tasks as we serve God and humanity. By bringing solutions to people's problems we glorify God with our work ethic, and there is not one single area of human development exempt from the Christian who is to be salt and light.
Every Christian must build upon the biblical worldview beginning with his or her personal life and that includes the spiritual, intellectual, emotional and physical aspects. These same principles are to be applied to the family, society, business life and church. The biblical worldview also compels Christians to apply The Scriptures to social action based upon biblical ethics.
Are you aware that the English Puritans were very dynamic and lively and not gloomy as others have made them out to be? When they arrived ten years after the Pilgrims to establish the colony, their excitement was profound and solid because they realized they could now implement the full counsel of God's Word or biblical worldview. They were very industrious and educated. Almost immediately after their arrival they started working in establish their institution of higher learning. Only six years after landing on this side of the world they founded Harvard College in 1636, and the vision and mission were very clear: “Let every student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life.” (John 17:3) They made sure to set Christ at the base as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning.
The Puritans came with the right focus and laid the true foundation for all learning in science, sociology, economics, law, philosophy, and much more! They placed the original American Values as the true source of knowledge.
Those who have misrepresented the truth about the Puritans have done it with a classical bias to discredit historical facts and promote the falsehood of American values that keeps the nation in constant conflict. In 1986, Leland Ryken wrote “Worldly Saints: The Puritans As They Really Were” and on December 1988 Helen Petter Westra wrote a review stating:
In examining Puritan morals, values, and theology, the author includes chapters ranging from marriage, family, and work to worship, preaching, and the Scriptures, and finds in the Puritan views a reforming the biblicism and piety which he suggests 20th century Christians would do well to emulate….
To conclude his survey of Puritan values, the author turns his attention to education and social action. He underscores the Puritan emphasis on God's Word and an unshakable view of God's sovereignty as the inspiration for the Puritan’s determined quest for knowledge and a society founded on biblical justice, piety, and obedience to God's authority and injunctions.1
Every piece of knowledge has to be compared with biblical knowledge. It is the only sure foundation for stability, growth, and the only worldview that makes sense for society and the natural world. If we fail to acknowledge this it can only lead to generational failure.
Two thousand years ago Jesus pointed out to the Jews, who were under the boot of the Roman Empire: a clear evidence of their rejection of God’s moral law and the consequences of embracing the secular worldview:
“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear? For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:31-34 (ESV)
As we begin a new year, our hearts and minds should make it a daily priority to be in the Word of God and put this on our list of planning and goal setting. We must also commit unconditionally to make an impact in our lifetime not only for our present generation but the ones to come. As followers of Christ we are commanded to disciple the nations (Matthew 28:18 – 20). Sharing salvation with others is only the initial step, discipling them is to make them productive in the God kind of life and receive the final rewards in the one to come.
This is how we keep the right focus for the New Year!