As we consider the passing of an old year and the moving into a new year, we can easily be in one of two camps. We can live a life of regret and then live in fear about the future, or we can be over-optimistic and rush into something that is possibly not of God or not His timing!. How can we move forward into the new year giving thanks to God for what has happened and with a sense of peace and security that God is a good God and has things ahead that we can look forward to? How can we walk in His timing so His plans work in our lives and through us into every situation God places us in.
I am a person that likes to go out and get things done. If it is there to do ....... I will put in all I can to ensure that it happens. As I am working through things in my life, I am realising that there is a better way; that is learning to wait on God. When we cook a cake we both put the oven on the right temperature and set a timer for when the cake will be cooked. If we take the cake out early, then it is not only not cooked, it is spoiled. In the same way, God is wanting us to wait for the timer and only move when the buzzer sounds. When we try to work outside God's timing it will never turn out as good as God has intended. If this is the case, how can we learn to wait on God so His plans happen?
When looking at the world and what is happening, I encourage you to take your eyes off what is happening around you and keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. Do not rush ahead but stop and wait for God. There are eight things about waiting that I pray will encourage you to stop, prioritise being in God's presence and make it a way of life that you wait on God to bring His plans to happen... even when it looks impossible.
1. Learn to love God more than the world.
Ask God whether you are motivated by things of the world. When Satan tempts us, he often focuses on three key areas. These areas include things that tempt the flesh (lust of the flesh), things that tempt us through what we see (lust of the eyes) and what other people think of us including status (pride of life). All these three things are attractive to us and cause us to love the world more than God.
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever..1 John 2:15-17 NKJV
Learn to not only love God more than the world but also prioritise spending time in God's presence. Seek God to learn how to grow in intimacy with Him and make this relationship one that you learn to walk in every hour of the day. Put your trust totally in God and not in the world. Grow in your love for Him.
But it is good for me to draw near to God;
I have put my trust in the Lord God,
That I may declare all Your works. Psalm 73:28
2. Live in the Spirit .... walk as a son of God
It is so important that we learn to walk in the spirit. This means that we live a life where we are in tune with God's Spirit and put to death the desires of our flesh. As humans, we still feel when we are hurt by others or desire things, but He wants us to take these feelings to God and learn to ask God about how He sees these things and what we should do in each situation. Base your actions through how God sees your situation and what He wants us to do and not from your feelings or how you see things.
12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. Romans 8:12-14.
3. Choose to live in the Kingdom of God
13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, Colossians 1:13
When we become Christians, we are called to live in a new kingdom. We physically still live in the world but we can choose to operate in the new kingdom...a spiritual kingdom. This new kingdom is one where Jesus is King. As king, Jesus looks after our safety, provides for us and gives us instructions on what to do and when. When we live in this kingdom Jesus is in control and we live in peace knowing He has our back. God will work things out so they work out in the end. God wants us to trust Him that He will guide us.
4. Live for the end of the story.
As we learn to trust Jesus as the king, we understand that the evil people may look like they are being successful, but God will deal with their sin. This may happen either now or at the end of their lives. In the light of eternity, we can know that we must remain determined to live in God's blessing and walk in integrity. The hard times we are experiencing may the process God is using to equip you for the future or is the process needed to move to the place where God can bless you.
7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Psalm 37:7 NKJV
Wait on the Lord,
And keep His way,
And He shall exalt you to inherit the land;
When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it. Psalm 37:34
5. As we wait on God, know He is listening and His heart is for your good
40 I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me,
And heard my cry. Psalm 40:1
As you experience uncertainty about what is ahead, do not panic. God has promised that He will hear your cry and as your heavenly Father, He has your back. There may be a tough time, pain, frustration or even a place in your life where it looks impossible. God, though, has a way forward. Trust that God not only hears you but He is working for your good.
15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. John 15:15.
When we walk as a child of God and not a servant, Jesus said He will tell us what He is doing. Ask God to reveal His plans and to show you not only what He is doing, but what He is calling you to do so His plans and purposes work. Wait for God and only act when the Holy Spirit tells you to.
6. Relax and know God is the source of your success.
7 My protection and success come from God alone. He is my refuge, a Rock where no enemy can reach me. Psalm 62:7 TLB
Where does your success come from? As Jesus rules and reigns and has all authority in heaven and on earth we can realize how important it is to relax and trust God to lead you to be successful and under God's protection. Stop, intentionally spend time in God's presence and wait for God's timing and way forward. Only through Him will you be able to achieve the success God has planned for you.
5 My soul, wait silently for God alone,
For my expectation is from Him. Psalm 62:5
7. Grow strong as you wait on God
As we wait on God, our strength actually increases. When we believe our success comes from what we do there is a huge amount of stress that we live in. As we live in the spiritual kingdom, we can enjoy being in God's presence and know God has everything in His hands. He will put people, situations, conversations, resources and everything that is needed so things will work. By stopping to spend time in God's presence we can wait for Him to lead us. Often things work or come together without our input. God can sort things out even when we are not involved. Our success, then, is not about what we do, but about God does. We just ask God to reveal His plans and only do what He calls us to do.
But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
8. Expect good to happen ... in the end.
God is a good Father who wants the best for us. When we love God and are called according to His purposes everything WILL work together for good. It may not look good from your perspective now, but God can see the outcome as he is outside time. He is calling you to trust Him and keep listening to Him and moving forward as He leads.
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
God's heart is to bless you as you trust Him and seek His heart. Waiting patiently for God is a good thing. Put your hope totally on Him. In God's time, things will work out better then you could ever expect.
25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.
26 It is good that one should hope and wait quietly
For the salvation of the Lord. Lamentations 3:25-26.
In conclusion, now is a time to stop and walk through life differently. God is calling us to love Him more than the world and to live as citizens of His spiritual kingdom .... the Kingdom of God. As you allow God to rule and reign the timing of things in your life must change to becoming His timing and not yours. Success comes as you wait on God and know He both hears you and is working for your good. Things will turn out well when you realize God, not you, will determine your success. The outcome of your situation will be good as we know God is a good God. Finally, as you wait on God He will renew your strength so you can then do what He calls you to do through His Spirit with His timing.
Stop stressing! Get into the presence of God. Wait for Him to lead you to do it His way and enjoy being in God's presence. I could not think of anything better than being in God's presence. When you have rested, heard what He is doing and you have been given specific instructions on what to do you can move forward in confidence.... and joy!
Finally, trust God totally even when you do not understand. Acknowledge Him as your King and He will show you what to do. He has promised!
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-5.