Grasping God’s New Year’s Revelation
The Bible says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish: But he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” Another translation says, “Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint but blessed is he who keeps the law.” This translation tells us, “Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the law.” (Proverbs 29:18)
Make time to seek out the truths to two words: 1.) “Prophetic Vision” (חָזוֹן ḥāzôn) means “divine communication from God to His people, which are to be communicated to others and if disregarded leads to certain doom.” (Baker, W., & Carpenter, E. E. (2003). The complete word study dictionary: Old Testament (p. 325). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers; Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.; Gesenius, W., & Tregelles, S. P. (2003). Gesenius’ Hebrew and Chaldee lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures (p. 269). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.) 2.) “Law (תּוֹרָה tôrāh),” in Proverbs 29:18 is a noun meaning instructions from God regarding the general way of living which pleases Him. (Baker, W., & Carpenter, E. E. (2003). The complete word study dictionary: Old Testament (p. 1220). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.; Holladay, W. L., & Köhler, L. (2000). A concise Hebrew and Aramaic lexicon of the Old Testament (p. 388). Leiden: Brill.)
God’s revelation for us all year is to carefully digest well-spoken or well-written slogans for inspiration because they may only intrigue the human flesh, are birthed from the world view which could be a lie from the devil. The best resolution is to be able to say, “…we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:16) This is accomplished by praying, “What do you desire of me this year Lord?”
His New Year Revelation for You this Year Is
1.) “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matthew 3:8) This is not a light New Year’s resolutions made with a half-hearted approach, it is a command. Repentance is a changed life turning from that which is sinful to all that is pleasing to the Lord. Repentance is not feeling sorry for something you have done. God’s revelation is, “Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:7) Repentance is ceasing to commit the same sins and seeking the power of God to overcome the sins which hold you in bondage.
2.) Mature in your walk with the Lord. The Bible says you are to be, “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” (1 Peter 2:2-3) The author of the Book of Hebrews tells us, “..solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” (Hebrews 5:14) Christians who feed upon the Word of God are skilled in living for the Lord in ways that cause others to consider their relationship with Jesus Christ. Prayerfully consider studying God’s Word seriously for your New Year’s resolution.
3.) Spiritually feed on the Word of God. Jesus said, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4) People can become so focused on meeting physical needs they forget there is food for the soul which needs to be fed as well. This passage of Scripture reveals the truth, God’s Word of promise, protection and direction is for every part of our lives. Every key need in life has truths which can be discovered in God’s Word, but it must be sought out like our need for physical food. Like our body’s nourishment is met by preparing food to eat, our souls are only fed when we prepare to read, study and allow the Holy Spirit to give us revelation of God’s truths. For the best result of physical nourishment, we should eat several times daily, we need to make time to fill our minds the Word of God daily, meditate on it throughout the day and ask Him to enable us to live out what has been revealed to us. When Jesus was dealing with Satan’s attacks, He did not use miraculous powers to reject Satan’s lures. He used the same resource which is available to us every day, the written Word of God.
Praying the Lord, through His Word and revelation through the Holy Spirit will make your vision clear this year as you seek Him with all “your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37) Will you make it your resolution to seek God’s truths to live by this year? Will you diligently search the Word of God for a heart check?
Jesus’ resolution is, “This is to My Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples.” (John 15:8) The Bible gives clear instructions on how to live a life that is surrendered to the enabling of the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ. “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:9-21)
Here are God’s instructions for Christians as they live in a sin cursed world, these are to be lived out by the enabling of the Holy Spirit of Christ while He indwells them through faith in Jesus. All the instructions above given through the writer of the Book of Romans, are to be sought and all lived out in spiritual fervor. The world should see a zeal in the lives of Christians as they endeavor to minister to the Lord, to their families and their friends. They are to be joyful, patient, prayerful, rejoicing with those who rejoice, mourning with those who mourn, humble, able to overcome evil with goodness, letting God deal with their enemies and strive, as long as it is up to them, live in harmony.
The heart of the Psalmist is the guide for seeking God’s ways, praying, “Teach me knowledge and good judgment…” Saying, “I will keep your precepts, with all my heart… I delight in your [word].” “Blessed are those who keep His statutes..” Acknowledging, “You have laid down precepts which are to fully obeyed, [so] I will not be put to shame when I consider all your commands.” (Psalm 119: 66;69;2;6)
The Lord’s Resolutions are to be taken seriously, applied in contrast from those who live in this world, forsaking their New Year Resolutions before years end. Live out the instructions given by the Lord, as you live in a sin cursed world! There is no better guide to live by, than God’s instructions.
The Prophet Jeremiah had a full understanding of the condition of the human heart. As we approach the New Year, God’s message to us through his prophet, “The heart is deceitful above all things, …who can understand it? I the Lord searches the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” (Jeremiah 17: 9-10) God knows the inner most thoughts and motives that an individual might have. He knows what is being done in secret, what is being flirted with and what is secretly being entertained and planned. God is also able to find what is good in our heart, mold it, mature it and make it right for Him. He can make our heart tender to Him and to those whom He loves. He can make our hearts steadfast, pure and loyal. He is the one Who hands out correction, punishments, and eternal judgment. He is the one who opens the doors of opportunity and determines the results of our labors. He knows whether or not to appoint us to a task, what task to appoint us to and give us the proper authority in His name to accomplish His will. (Jeremiah 1:5) You see, it is the matter of the heart!
Our spiritual heart condition determines our ability to respond to God’s promptings. It is possible to start a work with the Lord with our motives being wrong – (Number 22: 21-41) We see this truth in the Biblical account of the Prophet Balaam, a prophet who had such a reputation, the king of Moab said, “For I know that whoever you bless is bless and whoever you curse is cursed.” (Numbers 22: 6)
This notoriety opened the door of invitation from King Balak to the Prophet Balaam, offering to pay him to put a curse on God’s people. (Number 22:11) Catch this truth, God gives Balaam permission to go to King Balak, however, Balaam could only speak what God told him to proclaim. However something in Balaam’s heart awakened God’s Anger. The Bible says, “God was very angry as [Balaam] was on his way. (Number 22: 22) The Bible says, “The angle of the Lord told [Balaam] the path he was on was reckless.” (Numbers 22:32) God told Balaam, if it were not for the donkey he was riding, the Lord would have killed him.
What was in Balaam’s heart that angered God? In Numbers 22: 1-20, we read that Balaam was able to get revelation from the Lord, be aware of the Lord’s presence and determine what God had for him. However, as we read on, not only did God intended to kill Balaam, his spiritual eyes were blinded to God’s presence and purpose. (Numbers 22:31) The Apostle Peter gives insight to what was in Balaam’s heart, he writes, [He] left the straight way and wandered off to the wages of wickedness.” (2 Peter 2:15) As we read on in the book of Numbers, we see God gave Balaam a Heart Understanding about himself.
Like Balaam, Christians need a heart understanding. During a season of life they are walking in God’s will, hearing and seeing Him in their lives. As soon as they feel they can beat the flesh, a world view, and Satan on their own. They no longer have the ability to discern when the wickedness of their own heart has deceived them. Like Balaam, they can find themselves being labeled as God’s enemy.
Christian’s who truly want to live the new year for Jesus, will say like the Psalmist who wrote, “Search my heart, O God… lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139: 23-24)
Nothing should set our heart aright for the New Year than this powerful truth found in God’s Word, “For nothing is hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.” The New Living Translation sets the record straight for us, “For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all.” This passage of Scripture is placed just ahead of the teaching of Jesus about how important it is for us to pay attention and listen to His teachings. (Luke 8:16-18) Jesus says, eventually everything will be revealed by the truths of God’s Word. Every deed, action, and participation in life will be revealed to all. Jesus is stressing the impossibility of secrecy. All of our motives will be brought under the lamp of God’s Word. The Bible says, “For the Word of God is alive and active… it judges the thoughts and attitude of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
There are three circumstances people will try to hide sin: 1.) People will try to hide or deny their wrong motives and actions from themselves. These people justify what they do, they make others feel judgmental as they point out when self-deceptions, worldly influences and the lies of the devil are motivating their direction and determining their decisions. People who deceive themselves fail to see their incredible folly in the work place, in social events and family settings. People who want to reject the truth about themselves will ignore their spouse, family, friends or co-workers, they often slowly slip slide way. 2.) People try to hide things from their spouse, friends, and to their fellow mankind. The person with un-confessed sins may be haunted by their past. They have sins, which are thus far a secret. They may have confessed it and asked the Lord to forgive them, but they have failed to Biblically confess to those they have kept in the dark. The phrase, “What goes around, comes around” often comes to their mind. The peaceful person has no secrets, nothing to be exposed, no fear of what has been seen or heard. The peaceful Christian asked of the Lord, “Make me a temple of which all of mankind can see into.” 3.) People actually try to hide things from God, while trying to appear to be religious. Every year, Christians and spiritual leaders are found out, exposed, thus treating the grace of God with contempt. They convince themselves, God is blessing their work, He must be overlooking their sins. The child of God who enjoys the genuine blessing of true peace recognizes, “You are the God who sees me.” (Genesis 16:13) Christians should live with a constant reminder, “…you may be sure that your sins will find you out.” (Numbers 32:23) Not always here on this earth, however, for sure at the White Thrown Judgment or at the judgment seat of Christ, where all our work will be tested by fire.
The Bible gives us an exhortation that we must take to heart as we enter into the new year, “Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter [God’s] rest, so that no one will perish by following [the] example of disobedience.”
Now comes that time of the year when many people make New Year’s resolutions.
There are three powerful enemies that often work together to keep us from fulfilling resolutions: 1.) The flesh, that sinful nature. Paul specifically describes its power, “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” We inherited this sinful nature from Adam and Eve and it controls all unbelievers; 2.) The world, or this world’s system, has a lot to draw us away from what is good and right—that is to worship God with all our lives; 3.) The devil. He was cast out of heaven for pride and rebellion, and he led other angelic beings to rebel with him. Peter warns us, “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5: 8).
With these three adversaries constantly opposing us, it is easy to understand how most people fail to achieve or accomplish their resolutions and fulfill commitments. Jesus warns us that apart from Him we can do nothing good. Instead, people do what is right in their own eyes bringing grief, disappointment and destruction into their own lives and the lives of their families.
The apostle Paul wrote about struggling with sin and how to overcome it. Sin is overcome only by being born-again, allowing God’s Holy Spirit to live in us and surrendering to Him (Rom. 8: 9). Paul described it best when he wrote, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). These words are true for every man, woman and child.
The Bible teaches that Jesus is able to sympathize with your weaknesses. He has been tempted in every way, just as you are, yet He was without sin. Jesus is able to help you overcome sin and set you free from the bondage of sin. Jesus said, “Everyone who sins is a slave to sin.” However, He also said, “If the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.” (John 8:34,36).
The only New Year’s resolution that can withstand the flesh, the world and the devil, is to resolve to accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. He is waiting to set you free!
Resolve to Be Holy
Be Holy: We have just entered into the year 2015. God clearly gives instructions to His children about what they are to focus on this coming year. The Holy Spirit inspired the apostle Peter to write to God’s elect–those who are chosen by God through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit for obedience to Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:1-2). The goal God has set before Christians is high, yet attainable. “…Prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given when Jesus is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’ ” (1 Peter 1:13-15)
The writer of the Book of Hebrews, while warning against falling away from the faith, rebuked his readers for still being spiritual infants. Many Christians continually need someone to remind them of the elementary truths of God’s Word. Messages on forgiveness and salvation are most certainly Biblical, however they alone won’t mature a believer in Christ. Christians must find teaching that will take them from milk on up to the meat of God’s Word. Solid food is for those who want to mature and diligently train themselves to distinguish what is truly worthwhile spiritually from what is only a lethargic form of godliness.
The purpose of the church is not to make people feel good about themselves but to give God’s children an opportunity to become increasingly holy. In our day of social Christianity, the newest fads and latest programs have produced carnal Christians. If the apostle Paul were alive, his letters to many churches today would mirror his epistle rebuking the first century worldly Corinthian church.
“Holy,” “saint,” “sanctification”–all three of these words have been translated from one Greek word that is difficult to translate into English. Its gist, however, is easy to grasp—it means to be separated, set apart or different from. Morally, it means to be striving heartily after God’s purity and righteousness instead of seeking after the ways of the world and the things in it. A Christian who is set apart for the Lord lives his life in a way that pleases God. He uses his talents and the things that God has given him to glorify Jesus Christ, not himself or the church he attends.
People are often guilty of perceiving “church” to be just another club in town competing for numbers or a building where lots of programs are held. Rather, they should come to know that “church” is people who have received Christ into their hearts and who are being changed into His image through the illumination of the Holy Spirit and the written Word of God. Jesus is the Head, the church is His Body.
The Bible instructs Christians to always conduct themselves in a manner worthy of the gospel (Php. 1:27). Paul wrote, “Count yourself dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus…Sin is not to be your master.” (Rom. 6:11,14)
As a Christian, you are purchased by the very blood of Christ and your New Year Resolution for 2015 is a mandate from God, “Be holy.” The Bible teaches that if you love the Lord, then you will obey His commands (1 John 5:3). And you have God’s promise, He will faithfully empower you to live out what He calls you to—an abundant life of holiness.