“Honor the Lord with your substance and with the first fruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.” -Proverbs 3:9-10 (NRSV)
Happy New Year! What beautiful counsel and promise to start the New Year with a solid step! New beginnings inspire us to imagine better versions of ourselves: physically, emotionally, and most especially, spiritually. I invite you to look at the fresh beginning of 2017 as your “first fruits.” January starts and we have great expectations and the willingness to put our best foot forward.
What will God do if you offer your very best to start the new year? How will this change your life in profound and meaningful ways?
The most effective prayer I pray has been: “God, what will you teach me now?” or “God, what should I work on now?” God answers this prayer a 100% of the time. What doesn’t happen 100% of the time, is that I enlist on the course!
One of the lessons I wrestle with is learning to manage my weight. Over the years I have accumulated great knowledge about nutrition and exercise. Yet, I have not been successful in achieving my goal. In the past I’ve beaten myself up for it, but recently I realized that my relationship to my weight and food is a complex one. So achieving “losing weight” is going to require overcoming other obstacles first. This is going to be a long journey, but Jesus is walking right along with me on the path.
Ever since I’ve allowed God to come in and help, I no longer see the journey as an insurmountable burden. On the other hand, it has become a way in which I bring my whole self before God in a wholehearted way. And God has “filled my barns” with unprecedented “plenty”; meaning I have grown personally and spiritually, while adding some milestones along the way on the journey to a healthier me.
We will start the New Year diving into a new sermon series titled “Fruits and Veggies.” We all have to eat more of those! Through the lens of fruits and vegetables we will explore the teachings of the Scriptures about a very important fruit of the Spirit: self-control. Mastering being fruitful in this gift requires practice. The sermon series is designed to accompany you on your new year’s resolutions journey, by providing tools and biblical principles that will empower you to achieve those goals.
I invite you to revise your new list of goals or resolutions; Do you have any spiritual goals for the new year? What does it look like to honor God “with your substance and with the first fruits? What would it look like to infuse your existing resolutions with sound biblical teaching, passionate worship, and prayer? Do you believe God will meet you right there where you are?
With You On the Journey,