Approaching a New Year

“But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, ‘Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it’ ” (Numbers 13:30).

Most people begin the New Year with great intentions. They list various goals, adjust their agendas, and set out to accomplish something. But as time wears on, they find it difficult to maintain pace with all the goals they set. They get off to promising starts, but cannot finish. Some would recommend to them better time management or organization, but the Bible provides some good news. We all need more faith.

Faith responds positively to something God says. God commanded the Israelites who fled Egypt to take the Promised Land. They sent out spies to explore the land; that trip inspired Joshua and Caleb. They saw the fertile spacious land as something very positive for the nation. The other spies saw only the negative aspects of war and the opposition they would face. Joshua and Caleb were commended for their faith, but the faithless spies were judged for their unbelief. We need greater faith.

When God commands us to do something, do we eagerly obey? Do we moan and shrink in fear over the difficulties it would bring? We should embrace the promises of God and move forward with spirited action as we see the good things before us. Let’s look at a few faith killers:

1. Bad habits.
Most people fall short of their goals not because of poor intelligence or lack of opportunities; they run into a more severe form of resistance: bad habits. Some procrastinate, others fail to count the cost, and still others can’t stick with a plan. Faith pushes through these habits and addresses the core matter of establishing good habits. Ask God for wisdom and strength to address bad habits that hold you back. Face down these habits with a holy resolve. Set the bar a bit higher and ask God for the faith to reach it.

2. Little or no time with God.
We might have mentioned this in the point above on bad habits, but this needs its own section: it’s that crucial. Our very life depends on God. We can strengthen our faith by spending quality time with God each day. Each time we set aside time for God we remind ourselves that He is Lord of our life and the granter of any success we might experience.

3. Bad or mixed motives.
Paul reminds us that whatever we do, we must do it to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). We cannot manipulate God through our prayers to give us things that He does not want us to have. When we do things for God’s glory, we gratefully receive from His hand things He desires for us. In praying this way, God purifies our motives so that we now desire the things God wants.

As we face a New Year, let’s do so with faith in the power-working God we serve.

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