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  • Dean Thompson

Be Your B.E.S.T. for Jesus

It’s finally here! If you’re reading this, we’ve made it to 2023. With a new year comes new resolutions, which have been “in vogue” for the last 4,000 years [1]! Many of us make resolutions to get in the best shape of our lives, to get our finances in the best shape it’s ever been before, or even to live life to the best of our ability [2].


While there is certainly nothing wrong with those things, let me suggest that you consider a New Year’s resolution that matters above all else - being our B.E.S.T. for Jesus. Let me explain to you what I mean.


Be Brave


The world is becoming increasingly hostile towards Christianity. Some think we’re on the wrong side of history. Some just want us to get with the program and move on with it. Some want us to compromise when they try to push anti-Christian ideals on us. Some want to force homosexuality, pornography, gambling, cussing and the like down our throats and will try to cancel us if we don’t subscribe to their agenda.


Friends, despite the persecutions, trials, and afflictions that may come our way, we have to be incapable of being moved from our faith. We’re talking about having an unshakable and unflappable kind of faith. It’s a faith that’s willing to look persecutions in the eyes and say, “I’m not moving! My God is real and, yes, Jesus is alive!” The early Christians in the first century were willing to burn at the stake at the hands of the bloodthirsty Nero because of their unwavering faith.


The apostle Paul was willing to meet his demise with confidence because He knew where he stood in Jesus (2 Tim. 4:6-8). He was met with trials and persecutions all throughout his Christian life (2 Cor. 11:24-28), but the fear of death was something that didn’t cause him to waver or stand down from doing the will of God.


Paul was certain he would receive his reward from Jesus because He’d been a hard-fighting soldier throughout his Christian life. Being our best for Christ consists of being brave—brave enough to not compromise our faith for anyone or anything.


Be Energetic


Being energetic requires getting optimal rest so that we can accomplish the task at hand. If we don’t get the necessary amount of sleep, then we’re not going to perform at a high level in school or on our jobs. Then the next thing we know, we’ve failed that math test or lost our job.


Jesus didn’t shy away from resting. In fact, He encouraged it (Mark 6:30-32). Jesus knew that resting is vital in order to do the will of God effectively. In order to “always abound in the work of the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58), we have to make sure we have the proper energy to put forth the effort in completing the God-given task at hand.


The Greek meaning of the word “abounding” means to overflow, to make abundant or excellent. Each and every one of us should always be devoted to the work God has called us to do and be excellent in it. God gave us His best by sending Jesus. So, it should go without saying that we should give our best. It's our reasonable service (Rom. 12:1).


Be Steadfast


This means standing firm in our convictions but not being stubborn to the point that we aren’t willing to yield when confronted with evidence to change our lifestyle. Essentially, it’s a call to not move away from the hope of the gospel. We have a call to not let anyone or anything cause us to shift our hope of the gospel (Col. 1:21-23).


You’ve heard it said before that salvation is conditional. If we continue in the hope of the gospel, then we will be presented holy and blameless on the day of judgment (1 Cor. 15:1-4; 2 Cor. 5:10). But if we walk away from God, then we’re ruined. We’re destined for an eternity apart from Him because we moved away from the hope of the gospel (Heb. 3:12-14).


Be Thankful


Being your best for Christ includes being thankful for all He has done. In a recent Harvard study, it was found that gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships [3].


Let’s focus on the “build strong relationships” part. Don’t you know that when we’re thankful for Jesus going to the cross for our sins and defeating death by His resurrection, then we will cultivate an even stronger relationship with Him (1 Cor. 15:20-26,50-55)?


Sometimes, when you’ve been in the church for so long, it can be easy to let your gratitude for Jesus slip away. It can be easy to forget where God has brought us from and have an indifferent attitude toward His saving power. If this is you, then I encourage you to renew your passion and reignite your gratitude for Jesus. Be forever thankful for God sending Jesus to save sinners like you and I (John 3:16-17).


Being our B.E.S.T. for Christ involves being brave, energetic, steadfast and thankful. Jesus paid an enormous debt for us through the shedding of His blood which we can never repay. The best we can do is never allow anyone to move us away from the hope of the gospel and strive to our best selves for Him each and every day. Make a New Year’s resolution that matters.


Endnotes

[1] The History of New Year’s Resolutions

[2] Top 10 most common New Year’s Resolutions and how to stick to them

[3] Giving thanks can make you happier - Harvard Health.


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