Each year around New Years Day I seek God to give me a focus and a theme for the coming year, which usually includes making a “resolve”. Christ believers are called to make resolves and to have good desires. 2 Thessalonians 1:11 states, “To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power,” (ESV). The word “resolve” is also translated as “desire” and “good work” in many translations. Bible Hub shows the root word meaning this: “desire
εὐδοκίαν (eudokian) Strong’s Greek 2107: From a presumed compound of eu and the base of dokeo; satisfaction, i.e. delight, or kindness, wish, purpose.” https://biblehub.com/2_thessalonians/1-11.htm
Whatever you call it, a “resolve,” a desire to do good, a purpose — it is good to ask God to help us to focus on obedience to His Word and for the empowerment to succeed in carrying it out. New Year’s Day just reminds me to set an important focus. If I can focus on just one main thing–I will have a greater chance of carrying it out. When hard things come, and the year blasts forward too quickly, I meditate on my theme and it helps me carry out the resolve or at least remember to pray for God’s help in that area. But this year, I am struggling with being able to narrow my focus. I set aside today, Friday 1/4/19, to finally have some alone time with God, deep in the Word and prayer. It is a long story, but the way God has quickly and clearly guided my seeking of Him this morning– well, it’s just uncanny. If anyone wants to hear that story, please be in touch and I’ll explain more.
I journaled my process in seeking God this morning for a theme and resolves for 2019 as well as an answer to a specific question regarding His will for me so I would not forget how I saw God meet me and answer quickly. (It doesn’t always go that way for me.) God spoke clearly through His Word and through a wonderful devotional God has led me to by Jon Bloom that has been a part of my regular devotions lately. This devotional is firmly based upon God’s Word. (I will not listen to devotionals that are based on extra-Biblical “listening” to God, no matter how popular they presently are in Christian circles.) The chapters I “happened” to be on today in my regular devotions were entitled “You Will Change the World” (which is about accepting that your “little” seemingly insignificant life does matter and is being used by God and is God’s plan for your life) and “The Most Courageous Resolution You Can Make” (which is about the importance of making love your aim) — what were the odds of these topics, explored Biblically by Bloom, coming up today? They were exactly the answers and guidance I was looking for from God today. And they were exactly in line with what God has been speaking to my heart lately. I highly recommend this devotional by the way. “Don’t Follow Your Heart/God’s Ways Are Not Your Ways” by Jon Bloom, Copyright 2015–which is available for free in a pdf format from desiringgod.org. https://www.desiringgod.org/books/dont-follow-your-heart
It seems to be popular now to choose one word for a focus for the new year. That doesn’t really work for me. I need AT LEAST a sentence to describe my annual theme, and any specific self-discipline resolves that come out of my theme will be in addition to that. This year, I need a compound sentence to describe my focus and resolve, because it really has two parts. Here is my “theme/resolve” for 2019:
To accept and trust God’s plan for my life, and not mine, AND to pursue love with more intentionality.
I hope to blog more about what this really means as I study it more, but for now I will try to keep this post short.
Some of my theme scriptures in this regard are:
My theme Psalm for 2019 is Psalm 143.
2 Thessalonians 1:11 quoted above (which is a fabulous prayer for myself and others).
Jeremiah 29:1-14 with the great promise of Verse 11 taken in context. (God has a plan for my life for a future and a hope, but His promises and plan may not be fully understood or realized until I get my eternal reward.)
Focus on God’s Two Greatest Commandments Matthew 22; Mark 12; Luke 10 — to love God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love my neighbor as myself.
Self-discipline “goals” I have along with this theme are: better diet; better exercising; and better prayer. I need to take better care of myself so I can then take care of others. Prayer is probably the most loving thing any of us can do for another person. Will I take these “goals” to the level of making them resolves? Jon Bloom states: “Resolves are intentions with strategies attached. You don’t just hope something is going to happen; you plan to make it happen. To be resolved is to be determined.” (Don’t Follow Your Heart-God’s Ways Are Not Your Ways, Jon Bloom, Copyright 2015, Chapter 25.) I am going to leave my pesky diet changes needed as a desire and hope for 2019, but I am going to resolve to exercise my body and multi task by exercising my mind to prayer while I exercise my body in 2019, with God helping me. Believing friend, I give you permission to hold me accountable and to encourage me in this resolve.
Your prayer support is greatly desired, for only God can change me. How can I be praying for you? What do you want to see God do for you in 2019, assuming God will allow us all the privilege of living out another year in this life? Are you ready to meet God and face His righteous judgment in case we don’t live out 2019? I am also seeking constructive feedback to this post and to my blog posts generally. As always, I hope and pray that God will use the desire and ability He’s given me to write out some of my thoughts and concerns as a way to help and encourage others. May God help me and all of His universal church, and especially my beloved local church, to carry out His Two Greatest Commandments in 2019 and always — by His grace, and glory to God.
37 And He [Jesus] said to him [the Pharisee lawyer], “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”