For many years my New Year’s resolutions have been about self-improvement-exercise more, eat healthy, read the Bible through in a year (which never works for me), get organized. Those are all good things, and there’s certainly nothing wrong in making them. But for me it’s usually hit or miss in keeping them. It’s an empty pursuit at best, because the focus is on self. What’s missing is I haven’t asked God what he wants on that list.
It says in God’s Word that it is wrong to assume what we’ll be doing tomorrow or a year from now, to calculate on our own as if we had control over the future. James 4:14-15 says, “…..yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this and that.'” When we don’t include the Lord in our resolution-making, we are missing out on inviting God to reveal the things, great or small, that he would have us do to move closer to him and his purposes for our lives.
Father God, where do you want me today, tomorrow, a year from now? How do you want me to operate in the spiritual gifts you have given me? Something is stirring in my heart that tells me you have plans that will stretch me beyond what I thought possible or have even desired in my safe, comfortable life. I have said I want to be only in your will. And the testing is coming; it’s literally at my doorstep. Will you have us leave our children and grandchildren and move out of state to further the ministry to which you have called us? Do you want to show me if I really do love you above all else, family, home, possessions?
We may be renting or selling our home to move to another state and live in a little RV, at least for a while, to follow the call of God on our lives. Or there is a possibility we may live in another city in a little rent house that we own and are trying to sell, one that is in a different kind of neighborhood than we have ever lived. The Lord has been methodically subtracting the currency of this world from our lives in order to replace it with the currency of the kingdom, which is faith.
My husband is a visionary and has willingly given up the rest of his life to follow God in his calling. I have struggled with my woman’s need for security to know how to follow a man that is willing to risk all to be in the will of God. My spirit agrees; there is nothing I want more than to be living out his purpose for my life. But saying those words and surrendering are two different things. It has been more of a process for me, one that I’ve struggled with at times. However, this I have known in the hard times in my life: There is a sweetness with the Lord that cannot be experienced until we have to trust him completely.
So how do you follow a visionary? This is what I’ve learned so far. You don’t look back. You keep your eyes straight ahead on Jesus and submit to the leadership of your husband, for to do so is the same as submitting to Christ (Ephesians 5:22-24). You realize your life really is a vapor. You lay down your need for security in this world and marvel that God has allowed you, indeed chosen you, to be part of a great faith adventure. And he has already written the script.
Jesus, 2014 will no doubt bring great change in our lives. I have said yes to you. My one New Year’s resolution for this year and forever is to be in your will. You know better than I do what should go on my list to make that a reality. But how do I do that? I know the keys are surrender and obedience. The testing is and will be tough. I know I’m not strong enough, but you have said that your grace is sufficient for me, that your power is perfected in my weakness (II Corinthians 12:9).
Lord, I pray today not only for myself, but for all those who will read this post, that the words of Paul in Philippians 3:13(b) and 14 will be true for us. “One thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Help us to press on, Lord Jesus. Keep moving us upward, that our hopes and dreams and visions are not earthbound. Give us eyes to see what you have planned for each of us, and help us to live out your will, one day at a time, to bring glory to you. Amen.