I love a new year.
It’s a fresh slate, a clean start.
And fittingly, it comes at the end of the previous year, which is a natural time to reflect.
So did you take any time to look back over 2019? Did you look ahead at what you want to accomplish in 2020?
As I did both of those things, I decided that I want to be able to look back at the end of the next twelve months and see that I’ve made a difference. Honestly, I don’t know exactly what that looks like. But, alongside the other affirmation I’m writing down every morning, I’m writing this.
I am going to make a difference in 2020.
Do you want to make a difference this year? As I’ve begun digging deeper into how I can achieve this rather nebulous goal, I came up with three actions I can take that will definitely get me moving in the right direction. These are things we can all do this year!
This seems so basic, but if we want to make a difference, it starts here. If we try to make a difference in our own strength or by doing things our own way, it’s not going to be profitable or lasting.
Instead, we can ask what need does God have for us to meet? Which people do we know who are craving a word of encouragement?
The answer might be obvious…but just as likely, it’s not. Yet if we’re in a habit of praying for those opportunities and asking God to guide us, He can show us exactly how and where we can make a difference.
James 5:16 says “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.“
While praying might sound easy enough, it can sometimes be difficult. Prayer is definitely a discipline! But we can see blessings in our own lives and others’ lives if we make prayer a priority.
Our part is to pray. Then we trust God to actually do the work. We may not even know in this life how our prayers affected a situation.
Hearing this word usually brings money to mind. And that can certainly be part of it. But what difference could we make if we gave our time? How about giving our best effort to what needs doing? Maybe it’s just a hot casserole delivered to a front door or a few hours of free babysitting.
I love me some comfort and some quiet. Yet giving can require self-sacrifice and inserting myself into places that I might not always choose for myself.
Galatians 5:13 says, “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.“
Give a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on. Give up time that we wanted to spend on ourselves to serve someone else.
Well, if we thought this process was going to be easy, this third one will remind us that it’s not. Are we really willing to submit our plans, our desires, and our will to God? Bottom line – that means we have to trust Him.
We can’t submit to what God wants and continue on with our own separate plan at the same time. We have to believe that wherever He leads and whatever He allows is for our good and His glory.
And no other person can make us submit. We are the only ones who have control over our will. Ouch! That means we also can’t blame anyone else if we fail to submit. No excuses.
James 4:6-7 says, “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.“
We overcome our pride as we submit. We also become recipients of God’s grace in our humility.
I don’t want things to be the same at the end of 2020. Someone’s life could be better because I’ve interacted with them. A certain situation could have a positive outcome because I was involved. I hope you want that, too!