As a minister, I often ponder the truths that my congregations need to hear. One of the most helpful ideas has been to reflect on what I need to hear. Although we all struggle with our own unique combination of challenges and temptations, there are issues we all have in common.

As we enter another year I’d like to focus on some scriptures that I suspect can speak to most of us. I found these passages at and am listing the three scriptures voted to be the most helpful for this topic.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.—­Matthew 5:16

This verse challenges me to focus on the purpose of what we do. We are to be light as commanded by our Saviour. It answers the how question. Our love must be visible and remarkable and our deeds must be pointing to the Lord. So instead of our fame and glory being sought, it will be all to his glory. It answers the why question as well. We exist for others; not only as the objects of our love in the good we do, but also as the witnesses to our love so that they can be drawn to our Triune God.

So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new. —2 Corinthians 5:17

How can I move into a new year and not be challenged to leave some of me behind? When my attitudes, fears, habits and actions are much more representative of the old me, the Christ-less me, I need to remember and live out my new reality: I am a new creation in Christ. We are called to be more like Jesus. Only he can do it and only we can resist. I want to stop resisting.

And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching… —Hebrews 10:24-25

This verse speaks to me of challenge and encouragement. I need to be challenged. Otherwise I can become complacent. I need to be encouraged. Otherwise I become discouraged. As communities of Christ, we need this both individually and corporately.

A summary statement for my new year’s resolution could be this:
With God’s help I will focus on being the kind of light and love that honours my God, I will reflect Jesus in the person I am becoming and I will build up the body of Christ by challenging and encouraging my sisters and brothers in all their efforts.