Predictions abound about as many as resolutions at the start of a new year. This article contains neither predictions nor resolutions but can take a person where they need to go. After decades of being Christians, we find simple and clear admonitions from the God of the Bible are much better than fanciful ideas about what the future holds. The Bible shows that people forget what He says very easily. It seems, without a change in heart, that New Year’s statements do not translate or relate to a walk with God, which is a key objective of God’s or Emanuel’s plan. So, what might be God’s desire for 2023? We will boil it down to three words:
Watch! Listen! Do!
If you are not a believer, feel free to read through this, but you have to have a confirmed connection with the Creator and Savior to employ the admonitions we suggest. If you are a believer, you will recognize the Scriptures used and probably will think of more, because each point is repeated often in the Bible.
Watch! It sounds simple, but it presumes someone has a lifestyle of being watchful with God, or ready to see the Lord act or receive direction from Him. It means the person has a listening ear, a willingness to receive from the Holy Spirit with an intent to obey. The person is ready to worship, or acknowledge, or pray, or think on whatever God says. At the foundation level, to watch for God means we know the One we are watching for. Here are some pertinent verses: Mark 13:37, Matthew 24:42-44, Matthew 25:13, 1 Peter 5:7-10
Listen! This word sounds simple, too, but every parent knows it is not easy to teach a child to listen. An adult who cannot listen is often a disaster. But hearing in the Bible is another core spiritual truth that pertains directly to listening to God. It presumes the believer knows that He speaks. He speaks through the Scripture, through the Holy Spirit, through believers that are moved by God, through circumstances that get our attention on Him, and the list can go on. It means a person has an inclination to hear God above all things and wants to hear Him. An attitude of humbleness and a willingness are involved. Here are a few references: Luke 10:16, James 1:19, Isaiah 55:2-3, John 10:27.
Do! Walking out what people think or believe happens all the time, but the issue is from whom the instruction or conviction comes. The pattern of this world is to do whatever is right in its eyes. Self-interest, whether good or evil, is just that. But for the believer, doing is related to hearing God’s interests, and those interests were meant to be understood from a living relationship with God. The Bible is all about a faith in Jesus Christ that resides in a person in such a way that the person wants to watch for His hand at work, listens to any instruction or direction or admonition that He gives, and walks out those same things in real circumstances. It is not a dream or a piece of fiction! We are meant to walk with Christ. He is the light within the believer that is intended to be a guide and help. How can we tell? Over time in a living relationship with God, His interests become ours and our walking through life increasingly relies on Him. God is not some innocuous impersonal deity! Here are dozens of pertinent verses, and here are just a few: James 1:22-24, Matthew 7:24-27, John 14:23-24, 1 John 3:16-18. The book of Acts shows many scenes as a relationship with God is walked. Between the Gospels and Acts, there are so many things possible in our doing because the Bible shows recorded examples of what can happen — even through us.
What Will 2023 Bring?
Faylene and I want to encourage believers to enter 2023 with an intent to watch for the God of the Bible, to listen to Him, and to do what He says. If you believe these things, fruitfulness follows, life is richer (or more abundant), and our Lord becomes more personal. We have seen His blessings over decades, watched His hand grow in our lives, and testified to many things He has done. All of it, however, comes out a relationship with Him that is active and becomes more active as we live and walk.
If you are not a believer, you cannot see the Kingdom of God according to the Bible. However, you can become one by repenting of your own way, a way of sin separated from God, and turn to the God of the Bible. In essence, you must be born again to enter the kind of path we are talking about.
If you are believer but have sold God short or have withdrawn from Him, it is never too late to settle your heart before Him, repent, and become fruitful again over time.
God wants believers to know Him and walk with Him. When you know these things in your life, it won’t matter what year is coming up. You will be more concerned about the path He puts you on and walk in obedience to Him — through any circumstance.
Watch! Listen! Do!