As we kick off a new year, many of us will resolve to make changes in our personal lives and strive to impact our communities through positive action. Around the globe, people will make resolutions, determined to make this year different from the last.
As a Christian living in 21st century America, I can’t help but ask myself (and you), how would God want us to view the fresh opportunity a new year promises to bring?
As we make our plans for the new year, it’s easy to focus solely on what we want. But what about what the Lord wants for you? And what if what you want is different from what God wants for you?This could quickly lead to an untenable conundrum.
Following the Lord isn’t always easy.
Our human appetites often differ from what the Lord desires for us. While we seek to quell our hunger pangs with temporal things, God wants to feed us with spiritual bread meant to satisfy our hunger in an eternal way.
In Chapter 6 of the Gospel of John, we find Jesus at the height of his popularity during his Galilean ministry. As his following continues to grow, so does the antagonism against him. He feeds the 5,000 men (plus women and children), a sign so important all four gospels contain an account of the event. In feeding the 5,000, Jesus again establishes his authority and his actions affirm that he is indeed the Son of God.
Signs and miracles attract and repel. We are drawn to them in awe. Yet, they cause us to tremble in fear. We don’t fully grasp and understand what we are witnessing. They challenge our sensibilities.
As we continue our reading of this passage, we see the disciples confess their own inadequacy as Jesus proceeds to demonstrate his supreme adequacy. This sets up Jesus describing himself as the Bread of Life later in the passage. Directly after feeding the 5,000 Jesus instructs his disciples to get in their boat and cross the Sea of Galilee while he withdrew to a nearby mountain. As the disciples are puzzled about where Jesus went, they must have still be in awe of what they had witnessed. Imagine their amazement at feeding the masses of hungry people with what started out as insufficient means. Yet, God was faithful to supply more than enough. What a great lesson!
A few hours later, as they are out on the waters, a storm arises and they become fearful. Suddenly, Jesus comes to them, walking across the water. When they finally realized who he was, they readily welcomed him into their boat and again watched in wonder as the storms ceased. In the context of one passage, we see the Lord lead His people to green pastures and bring them into still waters. He shows himself to be the provider and protector of His people.
Sometimes we find ourselves caught up in a storm because we have disobeyed the Lord, like Jonah, for example. However, sometimes the storm comes because we have obeyed the Lord. We can rest easy, because God is trustworthy. If we seek His will for our lives and follow His leading, we can rest assured that He will serve as our provider and protector.
Scripture encourages to pray continually and seek God’s wisdom through prayer and study of His word. To do the works of God, we must develop a greater understanding of who He is and what delights Him. We can draw closer to the Lord through spending time with Him daily, committing Scripture to memory, spending time in worship, and devoting ourselves to modeling Jesus for others. The deeper we grow in our relationship with Him, the better our lives will be.
Abiding closely to our Lord, we will be more likely to set goals that are bathed in prayer and chosen wisely, glorifying the Lord in the process as well as in the performance of the work we are doing. We can be confident that the Lord will supply us with what we need to carry out the work He has called us to do.
Blessings for a grand 2019!
The Devotional Guy™
Follow The Devotional Guy on Facebook!