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Make It A Year Of Integrity
by Michael McBuba
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It is with much heart-felt joy that I extend to you and your loved ones my very warm welcome into the year 2008! I congratulate you for making it into the New Year alive, well and still very much in the Lord! I have faith in the Almighty God that it shall go very well for you and all yours in this year, and that the year shall see to the accomplishment and completion of all your aspirations and goals!

As I pen down the foregoing thoughts, three subjects come readily into my mind, which I believe if diligently applied, are guaranteed to ensure that you do have a highly successful New Year:

Make it a Year of Great Changes!

It is a well-known fact of life that whatever challenge you fail to confront, you cannot conquer; and whatever challenge you fail to conquer, you cannot change. This fact explains why most of us would need to take some very proactive and daring steps in this New Year. A number of us are not where we ought to be today not necessarily because some wicked and unknown fellow somewhere placed a curse on us, nor is it because such is our God-appointed portion, or His ultimate best for our lives, but because we had unwittingly chosen the pathway of abject defeat, and had long quit trying to reach for the tops.

But now that we are once again at the threshold of another New Year, (which also symbolizes a very brand new beginning), it is quite instructive for us to be reminded in the words of Robert Schuler that, “Quitters never win, and winners never quit!” What this literally implies is that in order for us to go very far and to excel in this New Year, we would need to clearly understand that quitting is no longer an acceptable option with us – rather, change is what we urgently need to embrace and to go all out for!

There are quite a number of critical issues in our lives that we simply cannot continue to ignore or to sweep under the rug; and there are certain other inexplicable situations in our lives that we need to quit putting up or coping with if we truly desire to excel in this year.

We all know what some of those issues and situations are. They often come in the form of procrastinations; irresponsible, reckless and unaccountable spending patterns; infidelity; unfaithfulness; covetousness; indolence; bad tempers; use of foul language; keeping wrong associations; disorderly conducts, haughtiness; pride; arrogance; pettiness; sulkiness; ingratitude; laziness; spiritual apathy; mental lethargy; sexual deviance; self-centredness; sharp graft practices; over-indulgence of gourmet fast foods; hypocrisy, and lying, et cetera. These and many such other anti-social habits and aberrant lifestyles must be put to death in our lives and subjected to the power of positive change in order for us to excel in this New Year.

Make it a Year of Noble Goals!

To succeed in this New Year, you will need to set some simple but realistic goals. Steve Sjuggerud of the Daily Wealth fame advised on the need to take a good amount of time to think about some of these goals, and then write down the ones you really want to accomplish in 2008. He also suggested four basic areas where goals should be set, namely:

1)Your health
2)Your wealth
3)Your personal self (hobbies and interests), and
4)Your social self (friends, family, associates and community).

The bottom-line is that only by setting such simple and realistic goals and diligently following through with them can one truly feel fulfilled and very happy with himself at the end of the year.

Again, it has been observed that whatever you do not desire, you do not deserve. But as much as I believe in the message of the above statement, it is also my practical experience that life doesn’t just give you things simply because you strongly desired for them. No. Rather, strong desire alone without a commensurate back-up action plan of faith coupled with hardwork cannot guarantee that your strong desires will almost always come true.

We have a biblical corollary of the foregoing in Joshua 17:14-18, where we read of how the children of Joseph, (Ephraim and Manasseh), came to Joshua with a complaint that the space of land allotted for their habitation was quite small and very inadequate. In response, Joshua simply instructed them to go and take immediate possession of all the surrounding mountains and forests adjourning them. In fact, Joshua’s instruction in verses 17-18 was, “…Thou art a great people, and hast great power: Thou shalt not have one lot only: But the mountain shall be thine; for it is a wood, and thou shalt cut it down: and the outgoings of it shall be thine…”

In a nutshell, what Joshua implied was, “If you truly need more space, (and I have no doubt that you do), no problem. Just go for it out there in the mountain and forest!” So, it is not just enough to desire it, but you must also back up your strong desire with commensurate action of faith. In other words, come up with goals as well as the action backup plans to accomplish them.

We can also see a clear demonstration of the foregoing backup action plan in Joshua 14:6-15 when Caleb boldly accosted Joshua to remind him of the promise God made to him through Moses some forty years earlier. In total agreement with Caleb, Joshua instructed him to go ahead to take immediate possession of the mountains of Hebron. That is also how it is going to work out for us in this New Year – we must take those first steps of faith-backed-up action!

Make it a Year of Godly Integrity!

Thirdly and lastly, my strong admonition for us in this New Year is that we should make a firm goal to be true to our moral and ethical convictions, and endeavour to always live above board and reproach.

Integrity is one singular quality without which it is impossible for anyone to excel in life. It is to be true to your self-identity wherever you are – whether in the company of others or all alone by yourself. The Golden Rule of our Lord Jesus Christ simply states, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them…”(Matthew 7:12 & Luke 6:31). This Golden Rule is the hallmark of personal integrity.

Among our resolutions for this year should be the conscientious goal to live at peace with everyone around us. Let us learn to be more tolerant and patient with people, and to also make it a habit to ignore certain provocative situations and actions that we witness on a daily basis. Certain individuals are agent-provocateurs extraordinaire of darkness; and are on assignment essentially to get as many unwary victims as possible upturned, unbalanced, and tripped off. Therefore, we need to always be on our guard and always remain very prayerful.

Indeed, it is not just enough to make New Year Resolutions – we must also ensure that we follow through with them, especially for the very fact that every type of resolution we make must pass through some test of time and integrity.

As we take the foregoing points to mind and also work assiduously towards accomplishing our set goals, may the New Year deliver every good thing it holds in store for us!

Once more, please accept my hearty congratulations and very warm welcome into the year 2008!

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