Every time the New Year approaches our email boxes, social media news feeds, and NY Best Seller list are always filled with the Top 5 ways to be the very BEST you in this New Year. Top 5 ways to declutter and simplify. Top 5 ways to be a stellar homeschool parent. Top 5 ways to slim down and get strong. Top 5 ways to be more successful in business. Top 5 ways to consolidate debt and become debt free. The lists, articles, and blog posts go on and on about planning for success, creating your best life, and living a life of design. THIS is how to be your BEST YOU in the upcoming year!
The thing is, we forget the Creator of all things who gives life, has already drawn up plans for us and has a specific purpose for us. In the imperfect day-to-day’s He IS doing His work to make you the BEST you…through Him!
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD, (Jeremiah 29:11-14a)
These books, articles, and tips aren’t bad things as we aspire to be better stewards of our body, mind, time, and possessions, but may we not forget to first pray and seek God first and foremost. Are we seeking God with ALL our heart regarding the changes that need to be made in our life, body, relationships and finances? Are we asking Him first if these are the things He has for us in our life calling? Or are we making decisions and resolutions based on things that we feel others think we should be doing? Are we striving for Pinterest Perfect and Facebook Fabulous, or are we desiring holiness and righteousness offline? Everything we say “yes” to ultimately gives a “no” to another area or other people in our lives. Are we praying for wisdom, discernment, and direction?
Though culturally the New Year is a great time for reflection, adjustments, and change, the awesome thing about being a child of the King is that we don’t have to wait until January 1st to start over. We don’t even have to wait until Monday as God and His grace are available to us minute by minute and day by day. When we fail to follow through perfectly with our resolutions, we can know where our hope lies and we can find rest and satisfaction in our God who is faithful to change us.
The steadfast love of the LORD never cease;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.” (Lamentations 3:22-24 ESV)
With all the New Year’s resolutions, they tend to be rooted in who we are (or hope to “appear” to be), what we would like to be known for, and what legacy we want to leave. If you look in Hebrew 11 we see the “Great Wall of Faith”. It is this awesome list of people who did great acts of faith in their life time. All their acts of faith were in God and what He had uniquely designed for their lives.
Abel- Offered the best parts of a lamb as a sacrifice to the Lord. (Gen. 4:1-6)
Enoch- “truly loved God”. (Gen. 5:21-26)
Noah- Believed God’s warning that God was going to destroy the evil people of the world in a flood. Built a large boat (ark) as God commanded to save his family and animals. Gen. 6:1-9:17)
Abraham- Left the comfort and security of his homeland, when God called him to go to a new land where God would give him many descendants. (Gen. 12:1-9, 17:1-8, Rom. 4)
Sarah- Was too old to have children, but she had faith that God would give her a child anyway. (Gen. 18:1-15, 21:1-8)
Isaac- Gave a blessing to his sons Jacob and Esau. (Gen. 27:1-40)
Jacob- Blessed his grandsons (Joseph’s sons) Ephraim and Manasseh. (Gen. 48:1-22)
Joseph- Used his position in the Egyptian government to save his family when they went to Egypt during a time of famine in Caanan. He also trusted that God would lead the Hebrew people of Israel out of Egypt. (Gen. 37-50, 50:22-25)
Moses- Refused to be considered the king’s grandson; led the Hebrew people out of Egypt; and celebrated Passover. (Exodus 1-15, 19-34)
Rahab- Helped two Israelite spies escape Jericho so they could make a report to their commanders. (Joshua 2:1,3; 6:21-25)
Gideon, Barak, Samson, & Jephthah- Performed acts of heroism and helped the Israelites to gain control of the land (Canaan) promised to Abraham and his descendants. (Judges 4-16)
David- Slew the giant Goliath and helped the Israelites to conquer Canaan. (1 Samuel 16-1 Kings 2:11; 1 Samuel 17)
Samuel- Led the people of Israel as a judge and prophet. 1 Samuel 1:1-1 Sam 25:1)
These men and women weren’t out creating and designing life for themselves and for their glory, yet they were ordinary everyday people with sin struggles just like you and me who needed a Savior and sought the Lord. Who followed His leading and truly LIVED the life that was already designed for them. It’s so amazing if you take the time to go back and read about these people. They mess up, they accomplished great acts of faith through God, but some even missed out on blessing and opportunity. This wasn’t a list of perfect people. It wasn’t a list of the most fashionable of 2016, the wealthiest of 2016, the most fit of 2016, the most organized, successful, etc. These normal everyday people God saw fit to use were imperfect and willing to step out by faith and live the life that was tailor made for them. I’m pretty sure “Save my Family during the Famine” was not on Joseph’s New Year’s resolution list. Yet God had brought Him to that very place to be available to do the unthinkable. Just think where God might place you this year if you are only willing and listening?
So, as we prepare our hearts, thoughts and time for the New Year, may we seek eternal things, Kingdom things. May we seek God and His righteousness and these things will be added unto us. He truly will lead us by faith! As we slow down and seek Him first, may we hear from Him and see in His word what He is calling us to. May we be Spirit lead and have wisdom and discernment to know what our best “yes’” are for our home, our family, and our ministries. May we take it one day at a time as we continue looking up. Then we can boldly and faithfully step out in the power of the Holy Spirit and do mighty things for His Honor and Glory!
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:33-34)