The media is full of lists right now promising a healthier, wealthier and happier new year if we will follow their five or ten directives. I wish reading those lists accomplished the goals. I’m often more of a “reader” than a “doer.” I find it comforting to know that James needed to address my same struggle when he told his peers, “Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22). Are you a listener or a doer? Most people are both.
God makes a lot of promises in Scripture, but most require us to be “doers” if we want to receive them. This year as you throw away the leftover Christmas cookies, dust off the treadmill and delete the store ads from your inbox, consider making a few spiritual goals as well. If we get the cart behind the horse this year, the rest of life will fall into place.
Consider these promises from God and ask yourself what you can “do” to receive them:
- You have a strong advocate. “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still” (Exodus 14:14). What hinders you from finding time to sit with God and listen to his perfect advice? If there was a doctor who could cure you, how long would you sit in his waiting room? If there was a financial expert that could double your wealth, what would you do to remember every word he spoke? The Creator God of the universe has promised to fight for you. When will you choose to be still and let him?
- You have a reason to be brave. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Exodus 41:10). The “right hand” of God is symbolic for his omnipotent, creative power. This year’s news began with a shooting, North Korean concerns, a plane crash and a sense of distrust for all things political. Fear and dismay are the natural result of listening to the evening news. God promises that whatever happens in this world, Christians are protected by the same power that spoke the world into existence. So, do not choose to fear and do not be dismayed. God has you in the palm of his omnipotent hand.
- You can improve your life. “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). What does God want you to avoid this year? What does God want you to purge from your life? What areas of your life has Satan been given access to enter? Label those areas as danger zones. Submission to what God wants for our lives is how we resist the devil. Hand God the key to those doors and enjoy the simplicity of having fewer rooms to clean up.
- You have, or will have, everything you need. “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). If you read my blog, you know the difference between a need and a want. It’s interesting how often we try to satisfy our needs by getting something we want. Christians need love, friendship, security, and we need to serve others to feel complete. God gave us Jesus so that we could literally have everything. How often do you want Jesus and his blessings?
- God will make this a good year. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). This is a cornerstone verse for all of God’s promises. A perfect new year is yours, if you will love God and live each day according to his good purpose. If something isn’t good today, you can know it will be good someday. Love God and love others with all your strength and allow him to call you to his good purpose.
All of us want to have a “happy” new year, and for most of us, it will be mostly happy. But let’s set our hearts on things above and choose to want a “happy” eternity. That one goal will change everything. God has promised his promises are a promise – forever. And every new year is one year closer to our perfect forever.
Let’s view this year’s news and events in the light of his promises and it will be a blessed 2018.