It’s a new year! We are getting a lot of emails suggesting they have the corner on the market for shedding those extra holiday pounds. I can sum those emails up in one suggestion: Eat less and exercise more.
We are getting a lot of advice and ads about simplification, de-stressing, getting organized, and living with more physical and mental energy. I would sum up most of those ideas by saying, “Put down the electronics and give yourself more time for chores and sleep.”
My helpful hint for 2024 is a bit different from a lot of those other articles. I would like to suggest that the best thing we can do for our lives in 2024 is to walk more closely with God led by his Holy Spirit. That one decision will do a lot to improve every other area of our lives.
How can we know we are walking with God’s Spirit?
It’s a common goal each January to make our spiritual lives a higher priority. Inevitably, life challenges that high priority. We can make every effort to walk with God’s Spirit, but we can know with certainty that Satan and his crew will be standing around a corner with an evil plan to trip us up.
Our inboxes will be filled each day with helpful “advice” from Internet marketing and AI targeting. How do we discern which advice is consistent with God’s plans and which advice sends us in a different direction?
I had to smile when I heard this from a friend. He was talking to my husband about discerning God’s wisdom when he said, “Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting a tomato in your fruit salad.” That’s a good picture for a lesson to remember: Not every word of advice in this world belongs in our lives.
I want to offer you a daily help for discerning God’s wise priorities. I wrote and recorded Wisdom Matters and it is yours, free of charge. You probably won’t get to it every day of the year, but it is available to you each day. I use a verse of wisdom from God’s word to apply it to the various areas of our lives. If you have not signed up for that daily devotional, you can do that today.
Scripture tells us that God’s word “is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, or joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
When we fill our lives with God’s word, the Holy Spirit will make God’s word alive in our lives and give us the wisdom and discernment to know what belongs in our fruit salad and what doesn’t.
What did Jesus promise us for 2024?
I was watching Anne Graham Lotz’s Christmas message and knew I would need to include her thoughts in this first blog post of the new year. I love it when I hear a message from God’s word and gain a new, profound truth!
Anne was talking about the verses in Luke, chapter 1, when Mary learned from the angel Gabriel that the “Holy Spirit would come upon her.” She, a virgin, would conceive and bear God’s Son. From those verses, Anne discussed her own salvation and then said something I had never considered before.
She referred to Jesus’ teaching in John 16 when the Lord told his disciples that he was going away. Jesus could tell the disciples were confused and concerned so he gave them a hope-filled promise. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you” (John 16:7).
Anne went on to teach that when she became a Christian she, like Mary, conceived the person of Jesus in her life, through his Holy Spirit. That’s why the Bible teaches us we are “born again” or “made new” in Christ. The Spirit came to indwell us, much like Jesus came to indwell Mary. Jesus told his disciples that it was to their advantage that Jesus would be going away. We are better off walking with the Spirit of Jesus within our lives than those in the first century who walked with Jesus physically.
If you are a Christian, you have received the same Holy Spirit that Jesus promised his disciples. The Spirit of Christ has been conceived within you. We who walk in God’s Spirit, walk with a very great advantage in this world.
Hold Jesus close in 2024
Our best help for the coming new year is already living in our lives. We carry the actual voice of Jesus to offer us wisdom and direction. We walk with Jesus within us, which is more powerful to our lives than those who walked beside him on earth. We are God’s child because we have received his Son in our lives.
Jesus indwells our lives, our thoughts, our hearts. 2024 will be our best year if we choose to trust the power and guidance of God’s indwelling Son. Galatians 5:25 says, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.”
I hope you will allow Wisdom Matters to speak God’s word into your lives each day. I hope gaining a message from God’s wisdom will help you “keep in step with the Spirit.”
These are changing times, and this year looks to be volatile, divisive, and could be filled with a lot of unknown dangers. God knows what we can’t and would whisper in our ears, “walk with me and follow my direction.”
Your best help for 2024 is already yours because of Jesus. We can look forward to this new year with his joy, his peace, and his promise of hope. This world may throw a few tomatoes our way, but with God’s help we won’t let them alter the fruits of his Holy Spirit.
Happy New Year!