Don’t Just Survive, But THRIVE in 2023

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Thankfully, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin is recovering nicely after going into cardiac arrest during the Bills-Bengals game Monday night, January 2. Bills medical staff immediately responded with CPR and an AED that made a difference. Miraculously, Damar is still with us.

This emergency halting play in the first quarter suddenly made football secondary to a life hanging in the balance. This episode starkly reminds us life is fragile and uncertain. We’re one heartbeat away from eternity.

Therefore, we must make each day count. Often when I ask someone, “How are you doing?” they respond, “Oh, I’m just surviving,” Jesus doesn’t want us to just survive. Jesus came that we might have a “rich and satisfying life” (John 10:10, NLT).

Jesus gives an abundant life of purpose, not an empty life of dull existence. Let’s determine that we’re going to thrive in 2023. What actions should we undertake to T-H-R-I-V-E this year?

First, tune-up your spiritual life. How can you jumpstart your Christian walk? Commit to read the Bible through? Memorize one verse each week? Take a mission trip? Find a new way to serve?

Having a regular daily time of reading God’s Word and praying is a great way to start each day. Applying this discipline faithfully helps us know God better.

Also, amp up your level of trust. When you trust God, you don’t have to worry because you have confidence God can handle anything that comes into your life. Trade fear for faith.

Second, hasten! The word means to urge on, to move or act quickly. We need to live with a sense of time and urgency as we serve God. Time is short and passes so quickly. It seems like we were just starting 2022, doesn’t it?

To hasten doesn’t mean rushing into decisions without seeking God’s wisdom, but often we’re easily distracted by the cares of this world, and we slack up in our spiritual pursuits.

Third, refocus your purpose. God created us for His pleasure and pursues an intimate relationship with us. He invites us to seek Him daily while following Him fervently. No longer do we wander without direction. Our lives are all about Him.

Fourth, invest in eternity. If you want to leave a legacy and make a difference for eternity, then invest yourself in what will last beyond this world. Do your part to increase the population of heaven, give of yourself to some type of ministry, and find ways to help people know Jesus loves them.

Someone said, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” One day we will stand before God, and He will ask us at least two questions: “What did you do with Jesus?” And “What did you do with the stuff I entrusted to you?”

Fifth, venture outside your comfort zone. Let God stretch you this year. Take a God-directed risk. Do something that is humanly impossible without God’s power and provision.

For some, that may mean changing where you sit in worship every Sunday. Now that would be radical, wouldn’t it? For others, finding a new place of service will stretch you and make you depend totally on God.

Sixth, enjoy each day. Look at each day as a gift. I was in the grocery store recently and greeted the young college student employee overseeing the self-checkout.

“How are you doing?”

He replied, “God woke me up this morning and I’m doing great!”

Today is the moment we have, so make it count. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is not guaranteed, so live life to its fullest today. Life is short so embrace each day as a present.

A 92-year-old lady lost her husband and decided to move into assisted living. She missed her home but had a great outlook.

“Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not does not depend on how the furniture is arranged, but on how I arrange my mind. I have already decided to love it.

“I have a choice. I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or I can get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do work. As long as my eyes open, I will focus on the new day.”

Will you determine to thrive this year?

[David L. Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church, Fayetteville, Georgia. Visit them at www.mcdonoughroad.org to worship online or for more information. Visit www.davidchancey.com to see more of Chancey’s writings.]