Here we are at the beginning of yet another year. For some, last year was a difficult year, for others it was a good year, and still for others, 2021 marked their last year of life. Time marches on. It is now 2022. None of us knows what lies ahead. Have you made your New Year’s resolutions yet? Do your plans for the new year reflect God’s primacy in your life? I invite you to read more.
Looking back at 2021, ask yourself this question; “If you had been arrested for being a Christian, would there have been enough evidence to convict you?” I hope your answer is a resounding yes! Now, looking forward to 2022, ask yourself, “What are my plans for the new year?” Many of us have made plans to change our diet, exercise more, rid ourselves of bad habits or addictions, repair an existing home or buy a new one, or a myriad of other worldly resolutions. But have we made spiritual plans for the new year?
The Bible gives us a great road map for making our plans for the new year. Let’s take a look. 1 Peter 3:15 states, “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope.” Said differently, if we want to be true disciples of Christ, if we want to grow and deepen our faith, and if we want to bring others to God, we must have a plan and we must execute it.
In John’s Gospel 1:1-18 he tells us, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” From this we see that our Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit predated time. The Son of God was at the Father’s side when the earth was created. He along with the Father and the Spirit, willed you and me into existence. Although Jesus has always existed, the world never knew Him until He was incarnate and became man. Many people still do not know Him. He now resides in us. Will others come to know Jesus through us in 2022? Do you have a plan to make this happen?
John tells us that Jesus came into this world as the light shining forth in the darkness. Our world is in dire need of His light. Do your plans for the upcoming year make provisions to carry the light of Christ to others?
Isaiah prophesied, “A voice proclaims: In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!” John’s Gospel makes it clear that John the Baptist fulfilled this prophecy of Isaiah. John went on to lead many people to Christ. He fully understood that his mission in life was to point people towards the Savior. John said of Jesus, “He must increase; I must decrease.”
Will a quick review of our plans for 2022 show that our plans are a little to “me focused” and not Christ focused? Do we need to decrease so that Christ can increase? Do we need to realign our priorities for the upcoming year? I wonder if God is also calling you and me to be the ones crying out in the world today, “Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God?” John knew he was not the light, but he testified to the light of Jesus Christ. What plans have we made to testify to the light of Jesus Christ this coming year?
God’s Holy Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed at the hands of the Babylonians. As we look around us today, God’s Kingdom is once again under attack. Eventually King Cyrus II, of Persia, the conqueror of Babylonia, issued an order allowing exiled Jews to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple. Christianity has been under attack in recent years. Is God calling us to help rebuild His Kingdom in 2022 by bringing others to His Son?
The prophet Haggai linked the well-being of God’s people and their community to the restoration of the Temple. In his exhortation to the people, found in Haggai 1:4, the prophet said, “Is it time for you to dwell in your paneled houses while this house lies in ruins?”
The wellbeing of mankind is still linked to God’s Kingdom. We should all be challenged by Haggai’s exhortation. Will we sit back in the new year comfortably enjoying our worldly goods, or will we make plans to bring others to Christ in order to grow God’s Kingdom on earth? The new year has begun. It is time for us to make our decision.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of a new year. Grant me the wisdom, courage, and commitment this year to walk closely in the footsteps of your Son Jesus. Protect me from the evil one. Bless me and those I love with peace and good health. And above all, help me to be a voice crying out in the wilderness, “Prepare the way of the Lord.” Amen!
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