Whatever our hopes and dreams for the coming year, may they be with the realization and resolve that “it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13 RSV).This “good pleasure” of God was foretold by Isaiah and proclaimed by John the Baptist. It is a picture of expansive change. Every valley exalted… every mountain and every hill laid low… the crooked made straight… and the rough places made smooth.
The “good pleasure” was made known through Jesus Christ and, consequently, is to be reflected in those who are his followers. Charles Spurgeon describes the impact of the Gospel in his evening devotional for January 3 based on Luke 3:4-5. He describes what God does of which leaders are God’s agents.
Every valley must be exalted. Low and groveling thoughts of God must be given up; doubting and despairing must be removed; and self-seeking and carnal delights must be forsaken.
Resolution 1: During the coming year, may our valleys of darkness become a glorious causeway of testimony to God’s grace.
Every mountain and hill shall be laid low. Proud creature-sufficiency and boastful self-righteousness must be leveled to make a highway for the King of kings. Divine fellowship is never promised to haughty, high-minded sinners. The Lord has respect to the lowly and visits the contrite in heart, but the lofty are an offence to Him.
Resolution 2: With God’s help, may we not think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think.
The crooked shall be made straight. The wavering heart must have a straight path of decision for God and holiness marked out for it. Double-minded individuals are strangers to the God of truth.
Resolution 3: In everything we think, say and do, may we seek to be honest and true as those who are responsive to the character of godliness and who reflect the life of Jesus straightforwardly to others.
The rough places shall be made smooth. Stumbling blocks of sin must be removed, and thorns of rebellion must be uprooted. So great a visitor must not find miry ways and stony places when He comes to honor His favored ones with His company.
Resolution 4: May God find in our hearts a highway made ready by the grace of Jesus. And, may God make triumphal progress in every area of our lives and through us in the lives of those we lead and serve, from the beginning of this year even to the end of it.
Church Leadership Center wishes you a year of lifted valleys, lowered mountains, straight pathways, and smooth places.
CLC was developed in response to the need for the training of lay leaders and lay pastors, providing a pathway for their growth. We offer assessment interviews and reports, personalized training plans, classes, and mentoring so that participants are able increase their effectiveness in all areas of church life. Click here for more information. To view videos about Commissioned Pastors and those who support them, click here.