If you as a believer had to live your life all over again, what would you do differently? Would you pray less, obey God less, help people less? I have yet to meet someone on their deathbed who has ever said anything like that.
Using Psalm 100 as our guide, let's look at four big things every follower of God should aspire to do as a regular part of their life:
1. Worship God joyfully: "Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!... Come before His presence with singing" (vv. 1-2). I've found that whenever the subject of worship is brought up, people like to make excuses: "I'm not a good singer." "I'm not an emotional person." But God gave you the voice you have, and it's an adequate instrument to make a joyful noise to Him. And even if you're not an emotional person, when God is in your midst, you will engage Him on some level of worship. Why do some Christians think that enthusiasm for the most worthy thing in the universe should be carefully contained?
2. Serve God gladly: "Serve the Lord with gladness" (v. 2). Singing joyfully is great, but God wants more than fans; He wants followers. We should respond to God on some level of emotion, but then we should follow it up with the motion of obeying what He says by serving Him. Spiritual maturity isn't measured by glorious singing as much as by glad serving. God loves a life that is lived cheerfully for Him.
3. Love God intelligently: "Know that the Lord, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture" (v. 3). To know simply means to perceive something with understanding. Contrary to popular belief, your mind matters to God (see Hosea 4:6; Matthew 22:37; Romans 12:2; 2 Peter 3:18). And there are certain things He wants you to know—like His lordship, His craftsmanship, and His ownership, like verse 3 describes above. When you know these things, you can fall back on them when the bottom drops out of your life. "He's my Lord. He made me. I belong to Him, and I love Him."
4. Thank God consistently: "Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations" (vv. 4-5). Why are we to thank the Lord? Because of who He is. He's good, merciful, and honest, and He deserves our gratitude.
So here's the challenge as we enter another new year: How are you going to spend the rest of your life? What are you going to start doing differently? Why not begin with these four things? There's no better time to start than now.