Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Standing At The Portal Of The Opening Year"1 (Lyrics)
I had once given up on making New Year's resolutions, because I never kept them. I now realize that the problem was that I had not consulted the Lord. They were my ideas of what I should do, or what other people thought!
The image of a star comes to mind, because Epiphany, when we observe the arrival of the wise men, is in the first week of January. When they followed that star, it was because the Lord had placed the goal of doing so in their hearts.
Matthew 2:9b-11 – The star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of frankincense and of myrrh. (NIV)
We each have a star to follow as well. The Lord has placed within each one of us hopes, dreams, and goals, but we often push these aside.
My experience has been that the quiet voice of the Spirit gets louder and more persistent until I start listening. Even then, my response is likely to be, "I'm busy now. I really don't want to do this" or "I am a senior; I am past that sort of thing."
Then, I am reminded of the story of Abraham, who was told that his ninety-year-old wife Sarah would have a son.
Genesis 18:13-14 – Then the Lord said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh and say, 'Will I really have a child, now that I am old?' Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son." (NIV)
Indeed, nothing is too hard for the Lord. We are not too old, too young, too inadequate, if it is the Lord's idea. The Lord knows what gifts we have to offer, and like the wise men, He will direct us to the place where we need to give them.
Some years ago, I left a secure job because the Lord was calling me to work in the community. I was scared because it involved becoming self-employed and operating with no paycheque. All my life, my greatest fear was financial insecurity. Not only was I challenged to face that fear, but He has always provided, to this day. I have also had a lifelong fear of public speaking, and although I have a good singing voice, I have been terrified when asked to do a solo.
Once I said "yes" to the Lord, however, over a six-month period, both fears not only disappeared, but now I also enjoy both public speaking and solo work. So my New Year's resolution will be to listen carefully for the Lord's direction, then to follow my star wherever it leads. That feels sort of scary. However, I am determined. Why not join me in this prayer?
Prayer: Lord, I ask You to take over. Help me to listen for and hear Your direction for my life, and to trust You, knowing that You will always be present to help and guide me as long as I seek to do Your will, and follow my star. Amen.