There is no better way to start 2018 than by dedicating yourself to fully understanding the character of God and committing yourself to follow wherever He leads. If we don’t believe He is good and sovereign, we won’t believe and trust that His way is best, for our good, and His glory. For many of us, the idea of following a God we can’t see directly conflicts with our pride and control. But scripture tells us why following God is the best resolution we can make in the new year…and every year.
Following Jesus means we walk in the light.
“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” John 8:12
Following God and walking in obedience means blessing, not always in the way we want but in the way God sees is good for us.
“And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God.” Deuteronomy 28:1-2
His plans are for a future and a hope, ultimately ending and beginning with eternity with Him.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
Jehoshaphat is a man to study. He refused to concede to culture and instead led his country by following God. God abundantly blessed the work of His hands.
“The Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the earlier ways of his father David. He did not seek the Baals, but sought the God of his father and walked in his commandments, and not according to the practices of Israel. Therefore the Lord established the kingdom in his hand. And all Judah brought tribute to Jehoshaphat, and he had great riches and honor. His heart was courageous in the ways of the Lord. And furthermore, he took the high places and the Asherim out of Judah.” 2 Chronicles 17:1-6
Following God means acknowledging that He knows us, sees more than we can, and understands and knows more than we will ever comprehend. When we follow God, we are following the best way.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
Jesus came to give us abundant life, not just here but in the hereafter. When we follow God, we are truly living as He desires.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
Abraham obeyed God, and God blessed him. God called Abraham to leave His home and go to a land he would be shown. He told Abraham that he would have a child in his old age. He told Abraham that his descendants would be too numerous to count. Abraham’s life probably didn’t look how he planned. But we are still being blessed because of his obedience.
“And in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.” Genesis 22:18
When we follow God, we are acknowledging with our actions and lives that He is truly God and in control.
“Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine.” Exodus 19:5
A mark of a believer in Christ is following God. He doesn’t call us to bear heavy burdens. Walking in His way ultimately brings life and peace, and He never leaves us to walk alone.
“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.” 1 John 5:2-3
Others know we belong to God when we walk in His ways.
“But whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” 1 John 2:3-6
Following God isn’t predictable. It often isn’t comfortable, normal, or quiet. It can draw attention we don’t like. It goes against the grain and can cause controversy with those who don’t understand. But following God is always best. When we obey and walk in His ways, blessing follows, not just for us but also for those around us.
As a church, we are resolved to follow where God leads, even if it doesn’t make sense to the world. Will you join us in the best journey you could never plan and only imagine? We truly believe 2018 will be our best year yet.
Written by First Dallas Staff