At this time of year we have a tendency to reflect on the past and look to the future with great expectancy and hope. We ponder the lessons learned from all our experiences over the year, good and bad. We wonder, "What will new year bring?" Left up to our own thoughts or will we come up with all sorts of ideas for the future based upon our own wishes, hopes, desires and passions. And, left up to ourselves, by February these "wishes" remain just that...wishes. However, if we leave our wishes out of the picture and couple ourselves with God, the Creator, through his Holy Spirit, we can know what He desires for us for the new year.
Psalm 37:4 states, "Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart." (NIV) This does not suggest we coerse God into giving us all of our wants. It means when we take great pleasure in God, in spending time with him, in relationship with him then we will become like him and our desires will be matched with his heart for us.
One way God communicates with us is through his "spoken" word. Yes, I said spoken not written. I believe God speaks to us today through the work of his Holy Spirit. The Bible says the Holy Spirit does only what the Father in heaven tells him to do. God's word is spoken through the Holy Spirit into the hearts of those who follow/believe in Jesus Christ.
When we are "delighting" in God's presence, sometimes he gives us a picture or a word. It's an exciting experience to hear directly from God! Hearing from God makes him real, living, vibrant. We can probably live on the "high" of hearing God's word for us for weeks! But, hearing the word alone and not doing the word is living in disobedience to God's underlying principles of partnering with humanity through the restorative relationship in Jesus Christ and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. As Oswald Chambers puts it in My Utmost For His Highest, "You can never be the same after the unveiling of a truth. That moment marks you as one who either continues on with even more devotion as a disciple of Jesus Christ, or as one who turns to go back as a deserter."
Looking toward 2009, what word (s) has God spoken to you? What are his desires for your heart? For me, it is "abide and go forth." I will expand on these words throughout the year.
May you be blessed as you follow God into your life's journey!