Read Nehemiah 1:1-10 – I resolve to replace apathy with empathy. In a few days it will be the start of a brand New Year, and resolutions will be made and broken in the first week. But that does not make resolutions bad things. In fact they are not only good, they are necessary for success in any endeavor, including the Christian life. We can resolve to do the good things that we know we have not been doing, and to make ourselves available to accomplish all that God has in store for us in 2016. Unlike the world, we can under-gird our New Year’s resolutions with two verses. The first is James 4:13-15 – “… Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
The second Scripture is Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.”
A great way to begin to build our list of resolutions is to include the challenge in today’s devotions, and be available to be used by God as part of His solution to the needs of others. God’s perspective of you and me is much bigger than you and me. God sees you and He sees me as instruments and channels of blessings for others. He ministers to us in our place of need so that we may minister to others. He gives to us, so that we may give to others.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
“Simon, Simon, look out! Satan has asked to sift you like wheat. But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And you, when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31-32)
“ Everything is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation..” (2 Corinthians 5:18)
“As you go, announce this: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those with skin diseases, drive out demons. You have received free of charge; give free of charge.” (Matthew 10:7-8).
Carefully read Nehemiah’s prayer and analyze his philosophy. His focus for confession and repentance was initially and effectively, though not exclusively on himself. His focus for blessing and prosperity was effectively on others, even to the exclusion of himself. In so doing he captured the mind of God. Nehemiah was able to claim the promise, “Ask, and ye shall receive…”, only because he asked according to the will of God.
“ Now this is the confidence we have before Him: Whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked Him for.” (1 John 5:14-15)
May our 2016 find us resolving by the grace of God to daily discover and walk in the will of God. May our resolution be to fulfill our birthright to be channels of blessings, first to those of the household or faith, and then to those without. May we resolve to be beacons of light in a dark world that point to Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world. May we resolve to be messengers of comfort and repositories of empathy for a sick and hurting world. As God has freely given to us, may we freely give to others.
That is my New Year’s Resolution. What is yours?
Remember to visit RBC’s Daily Devotional Our Daily Bread today at www.ODB.org