Love God, Love People

Profoundly Simple Resolutions for the New Year
December 5, 2019

Here we are again at the beginning of a new year. Most, if not all have given some thought to it. I have read words like, “The pages of a new year lie before you. It is in your power to decide what will be written upon them.” Pretty amazing, the power to decide or choose the path we will take and what our life will be like. This causes us many times to reflect on what the past year has been like and what we would like to see for the new year. I think of the familiar phrase, “You get what you aim for.” I believe it is a true maxim, a truth that describes reality. We become our priorities.

So, what is my aim for the new year? What is the priority, the goal for my life, my family, for the Oklahoma Conference in 2020? I like the way the Word of God has a way of saying much in a few words. It has a way of simplifying life by pointing out what is most important to seek. Let me give you a few examples. The apostle Paul said, “This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth unto those things which are before.” He is saying in effect, I’m putting the past behind and focusing on the future. He did add the goal was to seek for the prize of the high calling of Christ. His aim was to keep going forward in his goal of seeking to know and follow Christ. Joshua said, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” In other words, no matter what anyone else was going to do, his family was going to be all about the Lord. Both of those are great aims or goals and ones we would do well to imitate.

But the one that came into my mind for 2020 are found in the words of Jesus Himself. When asked what is the greatest commandment in the law or what is most important to Him, His answer was, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your mind” and the second is, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” It was not a new thought. He had given it to Moses for God’s people during that time. Jesus said, seek for and find an experience with God that will lead you to love Him with all of your being and lead you to love people in your family, neighborhood, church and the world. This is my aim, goal and focus for the new year, to love God in deeper, greater ways and to love people more and better. After all “by this shall all men know that we are His Disciples if we love one another.” We can’t do that without first experiencing God’s love and loving Him, for we love Him because He first loved us.

So, how do we accomplish this goal, to love God and people? I believe we have to ask Him for it. He has promised much to us. He said ask and you shall receive. He has also promised to do it for us, for we cannot do it for ourselves. He has promised this to us through the prophet Jeremiah and the apostle Paul in the book of Hebrews. Hebrews 10:16 states, “‘This is the covenant I will make with them after that time,’ says the Lord. ‘I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.’” God actually promises that if we ask Him and desire it, He will accomplish His greatest desire to enable us to love Him with all our heart and love our neighbors as we love ourselves. This is my New Year's resolution for me, my family and my Conference. I am asking God to fulfill His promise and I believe that He will.

By James Shires, President