We all want a new beginning when a new year rolls around. I do. I want a fresh start, a better outlook on life, a healthier body, and more time to spend with family.
But that’s not all. I want to have a new passion and vision for the things of God. I want my life to count for something. I need to survive, but I want to thrive.
thrive: to grow or develop well or vigorously; prosper; flourish; to progress toward or realize a goal despite or because of circumstances (Merriam-Webster online)
As Christians, we need a vision, we need goals, and we need to be determined to progress towards them–not just in our health and finances but in our spiritual lives as well. We should be growing daily in our relationship with the Lord, in His Word, and in His wisdom.
And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of our Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:10, NIV 84).
Many times as January slips into February, the desire for those goals seems to fade into the background, and we spend another year just getting by. But what if this year could be different? What if we set goals and actually spent twelve months striving to attain those goals?
There is a way that we can thrive–grow, develop, flourish, progress–in our lives that will impact everything else that we do in life: Seek Him first.
You see, we can make one, small, simple decision for 2018 that will have a tremendous impact on our spiritual lives, our relationships with others, our health, our finances, our careers, and our ministries, by determining that we will seek God first, every single day, in 2018.
That’s it. It’s not hard. It’s so simple, but it will change everything.
What is does require is commitment. We can’t have a lazy spirit and expect God to cause us to grow. But I have found that once I commit myself and then stick with it, even when it’s hard, God will do the rest. He will begin to fill me with a desire for more of Him so that it becomes easier.
As we spend time with the Lord in prayer, Bible study, and worship, God will speak to us, lead us, and direct our steps. If we will cooperate with His Spirit, He will change our priorities in every area of our lives. If we will allow Him to discipline and correct us, He will help us make better choices.
You see where I’m going with this? Eventually, seeking God first every day will change the way we interact with others, the way we take care of our bodies, how we spend our money.
So instead of focusing on those things, we just need to focus on God and be open and surrendered to His leading. He may then lead us to set some specific goals, but He will also empower us to progress to them. To thrive.
Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful (Joshua 1:8).
Then you will thrive.
The Lord has led me to start this year in Proverbs, reading a chapter each day for the month of January. I love the wisdom imparted in these Scriptures. If we want to thrive in 2018, we need the wisdom of God to do so.
The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
for attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight; for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young… (Proverbs 1:1-4).
Isn’t that why we make commitments in the first place? Because we want wisdom and discipline in our lives?
In the Book of Proverbs, we find the word wisdom personified–capitalized and referred to as a Person.
Wisdom calls aloud in the street, she raises her voice in the public squares; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out, in the gateways of the city she makes her speech: ‘How long will you simple ones love your simple ways?’ (Proverbs 1:20).
Wisdom is personified as One calling out to us. Don’t let the female pronouns throw you off. Proverbs is poetic language, so this is a poetic form. The Hebrew word for wisdom, chokmoth, is grammatically feminine, so Hebrew readers would have understood this poetic form. But make no mistake: Wisdom is Jesus.
My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:2-3).
If you truly want 2018 to be the year that you grow, flourish, and thrive, then do me a favor. Commit right now that you will seek God first–as your number one priority–every single day remaining in this year.
I promise, you won’t regret it.
You can also read my latest book, Seek Him First, which can be found on Amazon.
I pray that you thrive in 2018!
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