What do you have planned for the upcoming new year 2019? Most people begin to reflect on the happenings of the current year and become expectedly hopeful about the upcoming year during the fall season. For some, the contemplation can be intense. The fall is a most notable season for careful rumination, firm reiteration, and earnest rededication, looking forward to the new year.
What worked in 2018? What didn’t? What should I do differently? What’s best to keep the same? What are my goals for the year? Are they even worthwhile?
Questions. Thoughts. Fears. Logic.
We are scarcely done with the month of March when we realize that we have already strayed from our predetermined course, and it’s going to be a long year.
Our plans are useless when we are the originators. I believe the fall season is a great time to ponder and evaluate, but we should always couple our consideration with prayer. God has a specific plan for each of us, and that plan did not begin nor does not end with the turn of a new year. His specific plan for each one of His children has been in place since the beginning of time (Eph. 2:10). One plan that may have many seasons we enter and exit throughout our lifetime. Prayerfully consider the season God has you in right now and the season to which He may be directing you.
When we make plans for the upcoming year using our own logic and pursuant to our fears, we almost always turn aside from His best. Paul reminds us that it is God who works in us both to will and to do for His good pleasure (Phil. 2:13). In other words, it is God who gives us the desire and the ability to do the things that will please Him. Since this is true, we cannot possible plan to gravitate to our own desires apart from Him and please Him at the same times.
Is the rest of your 2018 and your 2019 about pleasing your Creator? Then earnest prayer must be at the top of your list now and into the coming year.
Our Lord never forces us to seek Him, but He has always intended for our plans, goals, and desires to arise from a deep and abiding relationship with Him. In Psalm 37, David contrasts the calamity of the wicked and heritage of the righteous. Verse 4 specifically encourages us (followers of Christ) to delight ourselves in the Lord, and in doing so, God will give us the desires of our heart. The Hebrew word translated to the English word delight means to become “soft, delicate, or pliable” in the Lord. When this happens, we will be receptive to His commands and His Word will not be burdensome to us. We will delight in Him and His Word; and consequently, our desires will become seamlessly in sync with the Father’s desire for us.
Delight precedes desire. The precursor to lifelong desires that bring true fulfillment is delighting ourselves in Him who is able to bring them to fruition. Begin planning with much prayer—embracing the spiritual discipline of listening during your prayer time. Our great God wants to guide us gently into His perfect will for our lives. An obedient and surrendered heart is precious in His sight, and it offers an open door to the marvelous grace to do His will. At the very intersection of grace and obedience (GO), we will always have the green light in pursuing God’s wonderful plan for our lives.