January 18, 2021
First off, let me just say, WE’RE FINALLY IN 2021! If you’re like me, you probably had your list of New Year’s resolutions or a “Do Better List for 2021.” The first on my list? Spend unhurried, intimate time with God.
This year, I added the word “intimate” because while I may have checked off a lot of my days praying and reading my Bible, God isn’t after my attendance. He’s after my attention—undivided, unpretentious, and unhurried attention. Not only my attention, but He desires my love, reverence, commitment, and thirst for more of Him.
We’re already halfway through January and like how the festive city lights have slowly been taken down, our desire to do better this year may also have begun to dwindle. Regardless of what we aim to accomplish this year, I hope that we don’t miss the point as to why we’re here today.
Here’s some real talk for us: Our satisfaction in God doesn’t come naturally, neither does our desire to spend intimate time with Him.
But if you ask me, God is worth the fight and every inconvenience we may feel as we choose Him above all else.
When Moses and the older generation of Israelites died, the younger ones were left to continue the journey to the Promised Land and were led by Joshua, a man whom Scriptures describe as “full of the spirit of wisdom” (Deuteronomy 34:9). Although God had to put His people through a journey of 40 years in the wilderness to get their attention and affection, His divine plan for them remained the same. God is committed to fulfilling what He had promised to His people so that through His faithfulness in their lives, His name may be glorified. Being a newly appointed leader, God must’ve seen Joshua’s fears and worries. With the affirmation of His commitment to being with Joshua, God had to orient this new leader of what’s vital in their journey.
“Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.”
As we move forward this year, may we remember these three reasons we need to keep God’s word deeply rooted in our hearts today:
Planning for the future is good, and so is our motivated focus to go beyond our comfort zones to achieve great things this year. But if we’re not careful, we might be so motivated in checking items off our lists that we get lost in the process. We should constantly keep in mind that our convictions make up who we are. As we do this, more than our self-motivated goals and material achievements, we will be able to guard, deepen, and make sure our convictions are still rooted in the Word of God.
Our minds are shaped by what we continually consume. According to Romans 12:2, we are to conform our minds not to the standards of the world, but on God’s Word. As we renew our minds, we will be able to be more discerning in our thoughts, actions, and motivations and will be aligned to God’s will, which is good, pleasing, and perfect.
The aim of every season in a person’s life is to know His creator more intimately, which produces a heart that recognizes His awesome glory. There’s no way that our convictions will stay rooted in God apart from His word.
If you are a Christian, you have a mission to fulfill! You may be a student or a fresh grad who has yet to discover God’s ultimate plan for your life, but even if you can’t point out exactly what your purpose in life is, you are still on a mission today—to make disciples of Jesus. Your family is your mission field, so is your campus, your friends, your community, and even your online platforms. Amazing, right? If we are to start the year with getting our heart checked and aligned with God, we should also value these God-given connections and continue to have a missional mindset.
This mindset is of course difficult to maintain without a continuous dive and submission to the heart of God.
Throughout many generations, the fickle-hearted Israelites caused themselves so many troubles and setbacks in their journey. And it was not just the case then, but even for us today. The thing about humans is that we tend to easily forget or choose not to remember. One may be unconscious and the other a response.
Whichever tendency we lean toward, God wants us to remember Him and acknowledge Him in every detail of our lives. He wants us to be fully devoted and dependent on Him. This does not come naturally. When I learned about Christ’s lordship, it changed the way I looked at my plans and goals. Christ as our Lord means He has the final say and that our lives are fully submitted to Him. And if God made Him Lord, then shouldn’t our plans, desires, and vision revolve around His will?
God wants to be more than a safety officer; He wants to be the Master Builder.
We may not be called to literally conquer a whole land occupied by giants, but we will have our own battles to fight and giants to conquer this year. And like the Israelites, our journey will be more than just about the battles, but about seeing, experiencing, and honoring God in any circumstance.
Through the words spoken to Joshua, God reminds us to be strong and courageous, but most importantly, to keep His commands and store them in our hearts so that we may have success wherever we go. God has made things clear then and even so today: It is not our battle plans that will give us victories, but our dependence and obedience to His every word.
Photo by: Hannah Tan