If you were to put your ear to the future, that crashing sound you would hear is 1 out of 4 New Year’s resolutions being broken. The amazing part of that statistic is that it is that low, even though only 45% of Americans actually make resolutions. So why do we fail so frequently? We fail at shaping our futures because life happens.
Imagine setting up a business venture or even a mission trip. You have your plan all set, you’ve even raised money and hired a staff. Then while you’re just getting ready to launch, you have a dream in which God is telling you to not go forward, but in an entirely different direction. Would you obey or would you fret about altering your already set plans? The Apostle Paul actually faced a similar situation:
“Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them. So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.” (Acts 16:6-10)
Two words from the above passage I want to look at; the first word is concluding. The Greek word is symbibazo and it means “to be held together; to be united.” Therefore, we can assume that Paul, Silas, and their new partner, the young Timothy, were united in changing their missionary plans.
The second word we need to look at is immediately. Other version renders this Greek word as “at once; as soon as; at that moment.” Once Paul and Silas realized God was calling them to Macedonia, they didn’t have a meeting with others to get input. I’m not saying this is never needed, however when you know God is calling you to another place, your only decision is whether to obey or not.
Imagine had Paul not gone to Macedonia. If you continue reading in Acts 16, you see they landed at a Roman colony named Philippi. Can you imagine not have the Book of Philippians in the New Testament? That would be the case had Paul disobeyed God’s call.
Of course, Paul and Silas could have avoided beatings and imprisonment had they not gone to Macedonia, but a whole region of Asia Minor would never had heard the gospel.
The plans we make don’t always work out; they seldom do in the way we imagine. However, if we are truly trusting God, then we can be assured that we are following the best plans for our lives, no matter the perceived outcome:
“Whether it is pleasing or displeasing, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God to whom we send you, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of the Lord our God.” (Jeremiah 42:6)
You might be thinking that you are rarely sure of what God is planning for your life, even if in a dream. So how do you get to the point where you can conclude God is calling you to action? This level of discernment comes from a close relationship with Jesus Christ:
“When You said, ‘Seek My face,’ my heart said to You, ‘Your face, Lord, I will seek.’” (Psalm 27:6)
The easiest way for you to grow your relationship with the Lord is to study His word. A daily Bible study is vital to a healthy relationship with Christ:
“Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word.” (Psalm 119:67)
Of course none of this is possible if you do not already have a relationship with Jesus Christ. If that is you, then please make that happen now. Admit that you are a sinner and that only Christ can save you.
That happens when you believe that Jesus in God Incarnate, who came to earth to save us from our sins. Remember, that is the reason for the reason of the Christmas season.
Confess to Christ that you repent of your sinful ways and that you will follow Jesus as the Lord of your life.
I can think of no better way to start the new year or to establish life-changing plans.
Happy New Year!
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Copyright © 2015 David Jeffers