Another year has concluded. As we reflect over this past year, let us consider what we have accomplished for the Lord. Note, the question that each one of us should really ask ourselves is, “Did the Lord accomplish everything that He wanted to through our lives?” I’m sure that each one of us could acquiesce to the fact that we did not allow the Lord to accomplish everything through our lives as per His Divine Plan. As we look forward to this New Year, my prayer is that we will be challenged to “do more [through] the Lord this year.” However, a word of caution must be admonished here. Too often, at the beginning of the year, we make “New Year’s Resolutions” – for which they are all but forgotten by the end of the first month. And if we are not careful, we can mistakenly view this challenge as a bidding to make ourselves “busy” through inventing ministries – all under the guise of “doing more for the Lord.” On the contrary, this challenge is not to be a “New Year’s Resolution” – nor is it to be something to generate “busy-work”. This challenge is a call to commitment to “do more [through] the Lord’s leadership” – as opposed to “do more [for] the Lord through our own objectives” (which will necessarily lead to “busy-work”).
Let’s further look at this challenge through the life of the apostle Paul. When Paul [formerly Saul of Tarsus] was saved on the road to Damascus, his first utterance unto the Lord was, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” The Lord’s Divine Plan for Paul was revealed, “he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel.” [Cf. Acts 9:1-16.] Paul, in obedience unto the Lord, faithfully served the Lord [through] God’s Divine Plan for his life. In 1 Timothy 1:1,11-12 Paul proclaimed,
“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope; According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust. And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry.”
Years later, Paul nearing the end of his life’s journey in the Lord’s work stated, “And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” [Acts 20:22-24.]
If we are to commit to this challenge (that is, to commit to “do more [through] the Lord’s leadership” this year), we must do so by starting in prayer, study and meditation upon God’s Word – and then to be obedient unto the Lord’s leadership and guidance to accomplish His Divine Plan [through] our lives. But a word of caution must again be offered here. If the Lord is to have success through our lives this year, we must choose to purge everything from our lives that would dishonor ourselves, whereas, we would hinder the Lord’s work. Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 2:21-22,
“If a man therefore purge himself from these [that is, any type of misconduct, dishonorable behavior, and by keeping the body under subjection], he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work. Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”
As the Lord opened many doors of service unto Paul, the Lord will do the same for us – providing our hearts state, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?”
Philippians 2:12-13 also states,
“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”
May each one of us also reflect upon the prophet Isaiah’s response to the Lord’s call this year by stating, “Here am I; send me.” [Cf. Isaiah 6:8.] For, therein the Lord will accomplish much [through] our lives during this New Year.