Malankara World

New Year

Going Forward In The New Year

by Ralph Bouma

"Go to now, ye that says, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanishth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that." JAM 4:13-15.

Before making a decision, we must ask: Does this bring me under any enslaving power? We read in 1CO 6:12, "All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any." We can become enslaved to our worldly possessions. I know of many cases where the Lord has blessed people with farms or businesses that are paid for, but then they think it is time to mortgage and expand. They have problems and next thing you know they are slaves to what God once gave them free and clear. We must be careful not to become enslaved under the power of what the Lord gave us as a blessing.

We must not go out in our own might and think we will build a big empire, saying in the words of our text, "To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain." We will lose sight of one very important thing: "For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will." That is how we should deal in our daily affairs.

Then we come back to the question in Verse 14, "For what is your life?" Is the tenor of my life toward God or self, toward the church or the world, toward righteousness or sin, toward self-denial or self-indulgence, toward giving or receiving? Is Christ increasing and self decreasing? Is sin becoming exceeding sinful? Do we see the need of living with a heart that is tender before the Lord?

How shall I fare for eternity if I continue to pursue the same general course and direction of life as I have displayed in the past year? If you are running a business and go through your accounts and find what is profitable and find no aspect of the business that needs to be altered, would you not continue on in that course? Have I lived the past year with strong aspirations to know Christ and to be found more fully in Him for my own soul's consciousness? Have I had a yearning desire after the Lord? Have I lived in nearness and fellowship with Christ? If that is the account we can give for the past year, then yes, we should continue our course next year. If we can say this, shall we not fare well by grace when we appear before the Judge of heaven and earth? If we can say that Christ is altogether lovely, and the chiefest among ten thousand, our all in all, if we have lived with strong yearnings to walk uprightly before the Lord, and to bow before Him in the submission of saving faith, shall we not fare well by grace?

We must analyze our books by the Word of God so that every decision and everything we do is based on Scripture or we will hear, "Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love," REV 2:4. Do we look back at the year with shame and consternation of faith because Christ has not been our first love? Then we have an account that must be corrected and an inventory that needs adjusting.

As we enter the New Year, may the Lord grant that we can go forward with our hearts' desire and our longing aspirations after Christ, that we might "know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death," as we read in PHI 3:10. And ROM 6:10 says, "For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God." Is that the desire of our hearts? To be "found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God, by faith," PHI 3:9. Amen.

Time! What an empty vapour 'tis!
And days how swift they are!
Swift as an Indian arrow flies,
Or like a shooting star.

Yet, mighty God! Our fleeting days
Thy lasting favours share;
Yet with the bounties of Thy grace,
Thou load'st the rolling year.

'Tis sovereign mercy finds us food,
And we are clothed with love;
While grace stands pointing out the road
That leads our souls above.

His goodness runs an endless round;
All glory to the Lord!
His mercy never knows a bound;
And be His Name adored.

Gadsby selection, 1838

Source: Excerpted from sermon #188 SPIRITUAL INVENTORY

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