In my family, New Years is the big holiday for the family to gather together and thank God for the year that has drawn to a close, and pray for His blessing on the year to come. I am still on vacation, so this post will be rather short today; however, I did want to share what has been on my mind for 2014. A close brother in Christ shared the Sunday morning message at our church and he highlighted the following passage in Philippians.
Philippians 3:13-16 (NASB)
13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; 16 however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.
My wife and I have spent a great deal of time in December, discussing all of the ways that God has matured us and blessed us. We do tend to focus a bit too much on the various “growth opportunities” (trials) we faced in 2013.
I am not writing to tell you what God has in store for you in 2014… not specifically anyway. Rather, I know that to move on with the proper attitude, Paul begins his advice with the phrase, “forgetting what lies behind”. One thing I noticed here is that Paul didn’t specify “just the bad things that lie behind”. He said to forget what lies behind. That’s important, because too often we become so focused on the good things God did in the past that we fail to recognize any of God’s blessings that don’t look exactly like the blessings of the past. In doing so, we limit God and hurt ourselves and those around us by not being in a position/mindset to fully recognize and acknowledge the blessings of God. But holding on to the trials too tightly can be even worse. Not only can that rob us of future blessings, and blind us of future trials, but holding on too tightly to the trials themselves can rob us of the very lesson God had intended for us to learn from it. Additionally, we can leave room for the enemy to plant seeds of bitterness when hold on too tightly to the trials of the past.
I am writing this to encourage you (and me) to seek the Will of God for 2014. Our church begins each New Year with prayer and fasting. What is God calling you to do in 2014? What is the prize for upon which you need to set your gaze? I recommend, keeping a prayer journal, and writing down what you feel the Holy Spirit speaking to you. Once you’ve written down what you feel is God’s call for you this year, search out the Scriptures for what you’ve written down. Once you’ve found the scriptural basis for what you’ve written down, you can be confident that you heard from God and rest in the fact that He has called you to do good works. If you cannot find scriptural basis, maybe ask a brother or sister in Christ to pray with you and search the scriptures with you. It could also be that you’ve injected your own desires or what you think God would want you to do. We’ve all done this at one time or another and to varying degrees. Here again, is why we need to be surrounded by Godly council and brotherly love.
I’m looking forward to 2014. I pray that this blog will be an encouragement to your lives in the upcoming year, and that you might share with us the great things He has done in your lives. May the Lord Bless you and keep you this year.