Before us lay 365 days that are like a blank canvas awaiting the brush strokes of the artist. Our confidence and hope lay in the brilliance of the artist who will not waste a stroke, every one being intentional and mindful of the final outcome. Like the artist, God has in mind what he wants to accomplish in and through us. Every action, every so-called “coincidence” has the final product in view.
Listen to what God is designing through you and I:
Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another-showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shapedup for the tasks God has for us.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 The Message
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.
Philippians 3:7-8 ESV
God is designing us to be people who grow to maturity in Christ to become like him through the application of his Word to our life. And, we grow to become mature in Christ because we understand that to be the greatest priority of our life.
How does God do this in us? He does so as we make daily choices over a long period of time to honour him through our obedience to his Word. It is not an overnight, quick process. One choice at a time, one decision at a time and one day at a time. It is not complicated but requires a God-centred obedience that aims to please him in everything.
He also does this through the refining fire of suffering. Sickness and disease, difficult relationships, our own bad choices, unexpected and unwanted circumstances all are a part of the Master’s brush strokes as he carefully paints on the canvas. This is where daily life happens and daily choices are made. God refines us into the mold of his Son. Our experience of suffering causes us to yearn for more of God and less of ourselves. We slowly come to realize that everything in life has a spiritual component to it. Yes, I did say everything!
Before us lay a years worth of opportunities to experience his grace. Our goal as individuals who belong to the community of faith is to encourage one another to patiently allow the Artist the freedom to create what he has in mind. For far too long in my own walk with God I attempted to use God to get what I wanted. I used spiritually sounding words to manipulate people and circumstances. But God would have none of it! He had a greater plan in mind that he persistently and patiently continued to draw on the canvas. Save yourself some time and heartache, my friend, do what he asks nothing more, nothing less UNTIL he tells you what the next thing is.
I read years ago that our lives are the result not of the dreams we dream but of the decisions we make daily. Personally, I choose to awake early to read the Scripture and pray. Nothing mystical or magic about that but it is determinative. It speaks to what is priority and what is the goal of my life. If you have developed this habit, keep going, it is worth it, if you have not yet, do it and find someone to keep you accountable.
This blank canvas before us called 2018 will slowly begin to be painted upon. Each hour, each day, each week and each month will uniquely contribute to the final product. Think about these words of the Apostle Paul as you consider what you desire for this year,
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.