January 1 The Life Before You

scripture reading:   Hebrews 12:1–10  
key verse:   Hebrews 12:1  

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.

The new year will be full of surprises. As diligently as you may plan, tomorrow, next week, or next month is a puzzle to all but God. Yet the Bible places the responsibility on you to plan, pray, and trust God for each day so that you may run the course that He has sovereignly designed.

Your supreme purpose then for this year is to walk in harmony with His predetermined will by employing three essential disciplines:

First, lay aside every encumbrance and sin. Willful sin or unproductive habits hinder your spiritual growth. You know several areas of your life that keep you from reaching God’s potential. By His grace ask Him to help you abandon these unnecessary weights.

Second, concentrate on endurance. As events unfold in the coming year, you will need perseverance to plod through the difficult, strenuous times. Do not let disappointments or setbacks take you out of the race. Accept that they, too, are part of the course God has divinely planned.

Third, focus on Jesus. Turn away from all that distracts. Look by faith steadfastly to Him. Cast your burdens on Him. Seek His face daily through personal prayer and sustained intake of His Word.

A fixed focus of faith on Jesus Christ will lighten your load, equip you to handle the tough times, and guide you into His will for your life in this new year.

Dear Lord, give me the confidence to face the future. Help me lay aside every sin and focus on You. Give me the strength I need for difficult times. Equip me to handle the tough times that may lie ahead.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1998). Enter His gates: a daily devotional. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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