We all have family. The sad thing is, not everyone can say they enjoy a great family relationship. Success in life begins with successful relationships in the family. Aside from our personal relationship with God, the next closest relationships we should have are with family—beginning with our spouses and children and then with parents and siblings. One of the most challenging areas in many people’s lives has to do with family relationships. They may be successful in their jobs, business, and even ministry. But at home, everything is falling apart. Why is this? It’s because there is no love, and there is no family companionship or fellowship or unity.
Ecclesiastes 9:11, New Living Translation, says, “The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn’t always win the battle.” That may sound a little contrary to what most people think, because it’s obvious that in a race you must run faster than everyone else to win. But the rest of that verse says this: “The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don’t always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time.”
There’s something special about you! It’s surprising to me that some people, including believers, find it hard to believe that’s true. In fact, they feel just the opposite. But the truth is, God created you in His image and He views you as a unique and special person. In his prayer to God, David said in Psalm 139:14, “For I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works.” The New Living Translation says, “Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous.”
Have you ever said or done something to hurt someone and felt deeply sorry for it, yet when you sincerely apologized, they were quick to forgive you, saying something like, “Oh, it’s okay. I forgive you. We all make mistakes.” That’s such a great way to respond. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen too often because we live in such an unforgiving society. People are more likely to hold grudges and seek ways to get revenge—something the Bible warns against: “Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone” (Romans 12:17-18, New Living Translation).
Every year, starting in January, we hear people talking about it being a “new beginning.” They look at that as a good time to “start over” in some way or another—to get a better grip on those things they intended to do the year before but never got around to, or began but never finished. Maybe it was to start another diet program, or perhaps they decided to do a better job at work. Or make and maintain new and better relationships. Maybe they even purposed to develop a closer, more intimate relationship with God. Whatever the goal, the idea was that they had a new beginning—another opportunity to start over and hopefully succeed.
Want to know how you can maintain a lifestyle that always pleases God? Here’s the answer from 1 John 2:15-16, Amplified Bible, Classic Edition: “Do not love or cherish the world or the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh [craving for sensual gratification] and the lust of the eyes [greedy longings of the mind] and the pride of life [assurance in one’s own resources or in the stability of earthly things]—these do not come from the Father but are from the world [itself].” The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Those are the things the world desires and seeks. They are also the things Satan uses to distract us or cause us to lose our focus and get our attention off God and His Word.