What are you determined to do differently in 2014? Are you planning to lose weight or get in shape? Maybe you are determined to spend more time with God or in His Word this year. It might be that you are planning to work harder on certain relationships, or to start new ones this year. The new year really is a great time to dream and plan for the future. All of us want our lives to make a difference. We want to have some influence on the world around us and for God’s Kingdom in 2014. We live, however, in a world where it is hard to be a positive influence. In fact, our culture seems to be working hard to be a positive influence. In fact, our culture seems to be working hard to be sure that Christians have very little influence. It feels like it is getting harder each day to be open about our faith without criticism or subtle persecution.

We are indeed calleed to be an influence. Jesus called it “salt” and “light” in the book of Matthew. We are called out to make disciples of all the nations in the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20. We are implored to make a difference for the down-trodden and those searching for a Savior. We are to live out our faith regardless of the social and cultural climate in which we live. In 2014, this will require something many believers are leaving behind: CONVICTION.

In the book of Daniel, we will see four teenage boys hold to their conviction in the face of a godless society. In response, God honors their conviction and impacts kings and kingdoms for decades! As we move into a new year, in the face of changing cultural pressures, it will take conviction to make a difference. Will you take your stand?