I know that if I begin with this renewed feeling of hope and do not make a new plan, I may not have a new experience. I'll just keep going in the same way I am now. It is in the last few weeks of last year and the first weeks of the new year that I "wrestle with God" to try to understand how I can experience more of God's fullness in my life this year.
Here are a few verses I reviewed to help me navigate the process of discerning God's will for me this year, and a few key principles to keep in mind as you seek and discover your plan for the new year.
Know that God's Plan for You Is Already in Process
"For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland." (Isaiah 43:19-21 NLT)
In this verse, I believe that God regularly moves or guides me from one season to the next. He trains me in one season to bear fruit in the next; I learn and bear more fruit in the next one, and so on. It's a cumulative process. He is often doing something new in my life year-round, but I guess I just tend to look for it more over the Christmas and New Year's holidays. I believe he has already planned something for me, and I am committed to understanding what that is.
Pray and Diligently Seek His Will
"For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me."
(Jeremiah 29:11-14 NLT)
Like you and many others, I take great comfort is this verse. Not just because I know God's plans are good for me, but that if I search for Him diligently, I will find Him and His will for my life. He tells us to pray, so I will continue to pray diligently to Him knowing He will listen and take my prayers into consideration.
No Need to Worry
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?...
"So don't worry about these things, saying, 'What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?' These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. "So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today." (Matthew 6:25-34 NIV)
This passage is telling me there is no need to worry about my future plans. I am extremely valuable to God and He will take care of my needs. My job is to "Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously" in all that I do. When I do, He'll take care of the rest.
Get Your Mind Right
"Finally, brothers and sisters, keep your thoughts on whatever is right or deserves praise: things that are true, honorable, fair, pure, acceptable, or commendable. Practice what you've learned and received from me, what you heard and saw me do. Then the God who gives this peace will be with you." (Philippians 4:8-9 GW)
I have to get my head in the game and take a good look at my thought life and attitude. They need to be focused on things that are beneficial to me and others. This is the way to experience the peace and presence of God.
In what areas would you like some direction from God?
What are some things you may have learned from last year?
What are some priorities you are thinking about implementing for yourself this year?
What are some thoughts or attitudes you need to change this year that will help you experience more of the fullness of God that is in Christ Jesus?
Some Suggested New Year's Resolutions
Read the PTLB devotionals every day. :) These are so helpful to keep in line with God's principles and truths. We have two great ones, Life Is Relationships and Breakfast with Solomon. Click HERE for more information.
Develop a determination to watch for, see, and understand what God may be doing in your life and in the life of others. Make prayer part of your daily plan. (Jer. 29:11-14)
Be careful not to put your hope in things that God is not doing in your life or in the lives of others. We sometimes get discouraged with what may not be happening, and in that discouragement, we may be missing what God is actually doing.
May you have a blessed and happy New Year! I'm looking forward to hearing from you. Email me and let me know what some of your New Year's resolutions are to experience the fullness of God more in 2017 at email@example.com.
Pastor Michael Baggett
Faith-based Single's Community
If you are a single adult looking for a safe faith community, be sure to check out Bridges at BridgesSacramento.com. Bridges is a weekly gathering in a casual, friendly environment that encourages single adults to develop great friendships and healthy relationships. We meet Thursday nights from 7:00-8:30 p.m. at Life Community Church in Roseville, CA. All are welcome. Click HERE for more information and other Bridges events.