Bible Reading: Acts 20:17-38
“But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:24)
The end of the year brings about a realisation of time, bringing all people worldwide to reconsider their existence and purpose on earth. The years tick by so fast, and in less than twenty-four hours, we will enter the new year if God wills. The year will change, and 2021 will never come back. As the age progress, our lifespan regresses. Time is short. What’s important is, how will we use our time? What is God’s will for the limited time we have on earth?
For Paul, life was more than selfishly pleasing himself. To many of us, this might be what we live for unconsciously. The goal of our days is to selfishly enjoy the company of friends, selfishly study and work to acquire luxuries in the future, and even selfishly serve God at church so that our conscience is satisfied and we can live guilt-free thinking we are already right with God. Such life is vanity! It has not to value whatsoever. If this is you, deeply reconsider your life’s purpose and repent.
For Paul, life was about obeying his Lord, Jesus Christ. Paul had a personal relationship with his Lord. He trusted his Lord and knew that God had good plans for him. Paul lived with his eyes fixed on Jesus. His only intent as he walked this earth was to finish what his Lord had entrusted him to do on this earth. His eyes only sought the approval of his Lord, whom he loved because he was loved first by his Lord.
The work entrusted to him was to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. This was God’s will for Paul’s life, and it is God’s will for our lives. This might look different in practice applied across different contexts, but the essence and end goal of all Christian’s lives are essentially the same. We are called to be witnesses to God’s work of grace in us, displaying the glory of God to all creatures in heaven and on earth. We are called to proclaim the good news of salvation to the whole world. We are called to be ministers of God’s Word, which is powerful for salvation in all contexts.
This is God’s will that is plain in His Word. Have we ever thought deeply about how we can actually apply this in each of our life contexts?
The first and foremost question is this. Do we personally know God’s grace? Have we experienced it? We can’t testify about God’s grace if we have not experienced (and are not continuing to experience) the goodness of the gospel. Are you asking what God’s will is? Firstly, it’s simple — take God’s Word seriously. Read it, listen to it, go to church and discuss it, pray over it, apply it, seek it like a dying man, and do it, again and again, every day and every hour of your life. God’s Word is what can make us wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. God’s Word is what will make a man of God complete and equipped for every good work. Go read up 2 Timothy 3:14-17.
However, knowing in our heads is not enough. We are called to obey, to act. We testify to God’s grace through our obedience, our pursuit of holiness. These things show how God’s grace has worked in us, making us new people in Christ. Being holy, we are set apart for service to God. What gifts and talents have God called us to develop and use to serve Him and His church? What part of God’s body have we been called to? How do we use all that we’ve got in our beings to proclaim the gospel to the world? How can you offer your life as a living sacrifice?
This is God’s will for you. As 2021 comes to a close, may our vision be focused on Christ once again. Our time on earth will soon pass. Focus your eyes on eternity, on the hope set before us, and live out your days in response to your Lord who has rescued you from the depths of sin.
Lord, we thank You for Your guidance and goodness in this past Your. You are ever faithful and unchanging in steadfast love. As we look towards a new year, we surrender our lives into Your hands once again. Take our lives as living sacrifices and use us up as Your witnesses on this earth. Lead us and show us Your will for each of our lives in the year to come. We ask in Jesus’ name, amen.