Now that the calendar has flipped, what will be different for you in 2019? Have you made physical, relational, or spiritual resolutions/goals?
I want to encourage you to ask the Lord Jesus to stir your passions and affections for Him this year. In America, we like to think we can just “pull up our boot straps” and make things happen. In spiritual things, this is not the case. God often does use our spiritual discipline to aid in our growth, but it is God who gives the increase—not only in salvation, but also in spiritual growth.
So go “all in” this year. Total surrender. No turning back. They say the most miserable person in the world is the professing believer who still clings to the world. He doesn’t feel the freedom to gratify all the desires of his flesh, and yet he also doesn’t enjoy the freedom in Christ that comes with really following Jesus with all you have.
In 1 Kings 19:19-21 we see an Old Testament example – Elijah basically called Elisha to be his successor. This may sound like an honor to us, especially if we are trying to sound spiritual, but Elisha needed to count the cost before blindly following God and becoming the next prophet. The text indicates Elisha was part of a thriving family business. Some people would not even consider giving up earthly comfort and riches for spiritual blessings. Still others would try to find a way to do both; stay rich and comfortable, but still follow God. The Bible doesn’t give us that option. It is an all-or-nothing invitation. In Matthew 16:24 Jesus said, “If anyone wants to follow after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.” Jesus makes it clear in Luke 14 that we need to count the cost. Paul confirms this “all in” mind set in Galatians 2:20 by saying, “He has been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer he who lives, but Christ who lives within him.” In Philippians 3 Paul said the things of this world are garbage to him, so that he can know Jesus. So what would Elisha do with his invitation to follow God? Stay comfortable and not follow God, try to have a little God in his life while staying comfortable, or totally surrender and go “all in”, forsaking comfort and safety? 1 Kings 19:21 says Elisha killed his oxen, used the yoke and plow to start a fire and cook the meat, then gave it to the people. Elisha didn’t just give God a try, he got rid of the possibility he could ever turn back.
Pastor David Platt says “Once you meet the Biblical Jesus, you will either turn and run or bow and worship.” The American option of adding a little Jesus to your life while your life looks like everyone else is not Biblical. If you claim to have met the risen Jesus, the most powerful force in the world, then you will be transformed, and your passions and affections will indeed start to head in the direction of Kingdom things and not silly earthly things. To quote an old hymn, “The things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”
So pray to God, who always grants requests that are according to His will, and ask Him to help you throw off everything that is keeping you from following Jesus, and just fix your eyes on Christ. Know that getting rid of the trivial things in your life and replacing them with the person of Christ and His glorious mission will make for the most joyful year of your life. Have not perfect circumstances, since we live in a fallen world, but have great joy in the midst of the chaos as you serve your King. Have a great 2019 following King Jesus!