Plans To Give You Hope And A Future
If you are like many Americans, January is your chosen time to reflect on the past twelve months and plan for the new year. 2021 has been eventful, for sure. We’ve all seen the good and the bad.
2022 can be a great year for you, but it starts by embracing three important elements — God’s truth, the right attitude, and commitment to action.
Let’s begin by examining a promise made approximately 2,500 years ago as Jeremiah spoke this prophecy from God to his people exiled in Babylon.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile (Jeremiah 29:11-14, NIV).
Jeremiah spoke God’s truth and the Jews, exiled in Babylon, believed it. Less than one hundred years after his prophecy, Cyrus, the Persian king, began permitting some of the exiled Jews to return to Jerusalem.
Though spoken specifically to the Jews in exile, this passage has wonderful relevance for you today. God has good plans for you, plans to give you hope and a future. The God who rescued captives in Babylon is the same God who has demonstrated the truth of His Word in your life.
My friend, God’s Word is true. Believe it. Trust that God will guide you in 2022.
The Right Attitude
Attitude is a difference-maker in life. Some see themselves as victims. Others believe the world owes them a living. Too many wander through life as though they have no purpose. None of these ways of thinking reflects the mindset the Lord wants us to have.
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others (Philippians 2:1-4, NIV).
God knows your needs, and He will provide. His Word clearly spells out that He wants his followers to have the mind of Christ — humble, concerned for others, and willing to serve. Possessing this outlook will block the propensity to think about yourself continually.
Does it seem to be too much of a stretch for you to have this perspective? Remember, the Lord won’t command you to do anything that’s beyond your capability — that is, if you rely on His strength and abilities to accomplish whatever mission He assigns to you. Think how much a good coach can motivate an athlete to accomplish far beyond what that person thinks is even possible. Imagine how much more the God of the Universe can help you to grow and develop into the person He created you to become. That includes changing your attitude!
I specifically recall a crusty non-commissioned officer I worked with at Fort Bragg. His attitude was toxic. He was mean-spirited, cocky, sarcastic, and cynical to the bone. He didn’t care about other people. He was near a 20-year retirement and was simply marking time. About five years later I met him again and almost needed to check his ID card to confirm he was the same guy. God had transformed him into a committed follower of Jesus whose life and speech reflected the love of the Master.
If God can change that non-commissioned officers’ attitude, He can help you and me. Why not ask the Lord to reset your attitude in 2022? You’ll be amazed at the positive difference.
Commitment to Action
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
Anything worth accomplishing requires commitment. A good example of this occurs every year as thousands of folks aspire to a higher level of physical fitness. Gyms in January and February are packed. But as March arrives and winter weather transitions to Spring, gym attendance drops rapidly. By the time Summer rolls around, fitness facilities are offering memberships at bargain prices to attract more business. Real results require a longer commitment to action.
God’s promises are true, but most have conditions. You must do your part. You can’t remain on the sidelines and expect God to do everything for you. He’s willing and able to help you make the necessary changes. With God nothing is impossible!
- Do you want to grow in your relationship with God? Develop a Bible reading plan, follow it consistently, and practice doing what God’s Word tells you to do. In a few short weeks you’ll begin to see and feel the difference as the Lord transforms you.
- Do you want to be a kinder and more loving person? Ask God to help you change your reactions to nasty, impatient, unlovable people. Be proactive and do kind things for others with no expectations attached. Take little steps in the beginning. Setbacks will occur, but don’t let them deter you. Keep moving forward!
- Are you captive to some obsession or addiction and can’t seem to escape? Admit your problem, seek assistance from those qualified to help, and trust God to give you the power and motivation to triumph over your challenge. Thousands of others have done it. You can, too!
- Do you want to develop your prayer life in 2022? Schedule a regular time to pray each day and stick to it. The enemy will do everything possible to keep you from praying. Stand your ground. The more you submit to God and resist the devil, the more you’ll experience victory over Satan’s attempts to defeat you. Nothing in this universe can prevent you from becoming a powerful prayer warrior for Jesus.
Good plans with hope and a future await you in 2022. Are you ready? It will require hard work, sacrifice, and the willingness to persevere. Most importantly, you must trust God, obey Him, and remember that He loves you with an everlasting love.
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 37-39, NIV).
2022 offers many opportunities for you.
Just as the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy hinged on how the captives responded to God’s Word, God’s promise to you has conditions: you must believe God’s truth and move forward in 2022 with a good attitude.
The prophets of old like Jeremiah didn’t live to experience the promised coming of the Messiah. You have. The holy men and women of the Old Testament didn’t get to witness God in the flesh. They never saw Jesus’ miracles or heard his teaching. Through the writers of the New Testament, you have. Those who lived before Jesus came were not able to live the reality of Christ’s life, death, and Resurrection. You have. And those who lived before Jesus didn’t have the constant presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives. All true followers of Jesus do.