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The Four F’s For the Fourth Year (2004)

While thinking deeply and introspectively about how to enter and live in the new year, the Lord impressed upon my heart the need to make commitments for spiritual growth and advancement in every area of life.
Though usually, everybody looks for a Wonderful Promise for the new year, the Lord taught me to commit ourselves to obey His Word rather than always making demands based on His Promises. No doubt, His Promises are faithful and He will surely keep them! But what about our responsibility? What God expects from us? Here are the Four Commitments to enhance our spiritual standard and keep us close to Him in this new year.

1. Be Filled with the Holy Spirit: Ephesians 5:18.
It is like what the Lord Jesus promised before His ascension, that when the Holy Spirit comes, His disciples would be filled with power and they would be His witnesses all over the world. Though all believers have the indwelling presence of the Spirit of God, yet all need the continuous filling of the Spirit for effective living and powerful ministry. It is the surrendering of our total being to the Spirit’s control. When that happens, joyful worship and spiritual communication that edifies one another takes place in the fellowship of saints. May we continuously seek and experience the filling of the Holy Spirit so that our lives produce the fruit, the character of Christ. (Gal. 5:22-23).

2. Be Firm in the Faith: 1 Corinthians 15:58; Hebrews 3:14.
These days many people’s commitments are wavering due to change of circumstances. Even some have left their original faith and forsook the Lord and left His church. These are the days when God’s people are going through severe trials for their faith. Hence, we need to commit ourselves to be firm and steadfast in the faith. Nothing should move us from our calling and distract our focus from the author and finisher of our faith (Heb.12:3).
In Col. 2:6,7 we are exhorted to “be rooted and built up in Him...” This tells us how strong and deep our convictions have to be in Christ. Only then can we experience stability and growth in the faith. But it does not happen in oneday! We have to exhort one another daily, so that no one will become hardened by the deceitfulness of sin and become weak and fall back (Heb.3:13).
To resist Satan’s attacks, we have to stand firm in the faith (1 Peter 5:9).
We will also be victorious because of our Lord (1 John 5:4,5). Amen.

3. Be Faithful till the End: Revelation 2:10
It is God’s plan to complete what He has begun and to end what He has started. He never leaves nor forsakes, even when we fail to keep in step in with Him. But He expects us to remain faithful whatever the situation- favourable or problematic. Apostle Paul encouraged saints at Philippi by expressing his confidence that God will definitely carry it on to completion what He has begun in their lives (Phil. 1:6).
However, in the midst of trials, as John writes in his letter to the church at end time, it would be difficult to maintain the original faith and love towards the Lord and His work. But Peter says that, there is comfort and encouragement to hold on when we remember that others are also going through similar sufferings for sake of Christ. (1Peter 5:9). And note the promise here, that God Himself will strengthen, sanctify, and make us firm and steadfast after we have suffered for a while. Amen.

4. Be Fruitful in Everything: Colossians 1:10.
The very blessing God pronounced on the first man and woman was to “be fruitful and fill the earth...” (Gen. 1:28). The same blessing is repeated for the spiritually life by the Lord Jesus in John 15:16, “I have chosen to go and bear fruit...” And Apostle Paul prays for Colossians that they may, among other things, “bear fruit in every good work” (Col.1:10).
Spiritual fruit is the by-product of a righteous life.The Bible identifies spiritual fruit as leading people to Christ (1Cor. 16;15), praising God (Heb.13:15), giving money (Rom. 15:26-28), living a godly life (Heb.12:11), and displaying holy attitudes (Gal. 5:22-23).
The evidence of spiritual growth include a deeper love for God’s Word (Ps. 119:97), a more perfect obedience (1 John 2:3-5), a strong doctrinal foundation (1 John 2:12-14), an expanding faith (2 Thess.1:3; 2Cor. 10:5), and a greater love for others (Phil. 1:9).
Let us commit ourselves to be fruitful in everything we do. In using out time, talents and treasures, may we be investing them, rather than wasting, may we utilize them wisely rather than not using at all! In our communications, relationships with others, in our professions, in our daily activities, may we see the blessing of the Lord for fruitfulness and fulfilment. Amen.

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13.
Copyright @ A.Othniel, Bombay, India.
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