As most of you have been, I have been pondering and praying about this new year for the past few weeks. God has transformed my life so much already in the past year, it gives me excitement and anticipation for what will be next. This year, I really wanted to avoid making a list that came from my own head for resolutions. It usually just ends up in disappointment by the end of the year because the items on the list were my own ideas, done by my own strength, which most often fails.
As I prayed, God pointed out a verse in Proverbs to me. It read “The sluggard says, There is a lion outside! I shall be slain.” (22:13) At first read, God made this verse really stick out to me. It seems sort of like a condemning, negative verse, so I took some time to pray about what He wanted to show me about it. I understood that in context, the lion symbolized a big problem- something that would not be easy to tackle. Sluggard was the word that was what was confusing me. I don’t feel lazy- my days are filled and I keep busy. He showed me that in this case, when the symbol is a problem to tackle, the laziness isn’t an ‘I want to sit down do nothing’ kind of laziness, it is more of an ‘I would rather be comfortable, than make the effort to face fears and fight’ kind of laziness. This made total sense.
I think, especially in my culture, it is really easy to seek out comfort. It is the normal. A comfortable home, a comfortable wardrobe that will draw comfortable responses, a comfortable schedule, comfortable habits, comfortable routine, comfortable friendship and situations, and more are all normal pursuits for me. Even if it is subconsciously, I make daily choices that seem comfortable for me. This is good in a sense, but it is hard to grow character, faith, and perseverance this way. It also keeps me in habits and pursuits that are not beneficial to me and hinders what God wants to use me for. On the other hand, I could take this word from God and run too far the other way. I could see all of the problem areas of my life and try to tackle them all- at once. That would not bode well, either.
Through prayer, He revealed a small list to me of things that He wanted me to focus on for growth this year. I can say, they are definitely not the first things that I would have chosen. Knowing God’s character, I know that His ideas are exponentially better than mine would have been anyhow. There will be more “lions” that will come up unexpectedly throughout the year as well, and I am looking forward to those, as I know that fighting them will bring freedom and grow my faith. I know that it will be a challenge. Like the verse says, a lazy person will not fight the lion. I don’t want to live in my idea of ‘comfort’ anymore. I want to surrender my plans and my endeavors to God, for Him to show me His comfort, His peace, and His will. The great part is that I don’t have to fight on my own. I have the greatest, strongest warrior to lead the way, and that is Jesus Christ in me.
For You Too!
I share this because I believe that for some of you reading, this word is true for you this year as well. If there are lions in the form of fears, doubts, anxieties, shame, and habits that have been holding you back for quite some time, it is the time to suit up. There is victory and freedom in Christ to be found this year!
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” -Ephesians 6:10-18
Lord, I repent for seeking comfort in this world, rather than comfort from you. I know that your comfort is the only thing that can truly bring me joy and satisfaction. I pray that you would give me wisdom and strength to go out of house and face those lions that you would have me face this year, Lord. I pray that you would help me continually put on the armor and that I would be ready. I pray in Jesus’ name that they would be defeated and that total victory would be upon me and anyone else who this word resonates for. In Jesus’ Mighty Name, amen.
Has He given you any verses or themes for your year this year? I would love to hear them! Comment below.
*Image courtesy of tuelekza at FreeDigitalPhotos.net