WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
DECEMBER 28, 2021
TOPIC: SET GOALS FOR THE NEW YEAR
BY T. O. BANSO
“I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14 New King James Version).
Whereas many Christians are thinking of and preparing for the Crossover Service, most may not be making plans for the New Year. Many think that success in the New Year would be decided at the service or is dependent only on it. They do not sit down to prayerfully review their lives, set goals, and develop plans to achieve them. I’m not talking about the ritual of making New Year resolutions.
It is good to enter the New Year in the house of God with other children of God. It’s a wonderful atmosphere. Even the Bible says we should not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching (Hebrews 10:25). David said, “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go into the house of the LORD.‘Our feet have been standing within your gates, O Jerusalem!” (Psalm 122:1-2 New King James Version).
However, this is not enough. Just as you have celebrated many Christmases in the past, you have also attended many Crossover Services and have rejoiced at the dawn of a new year many times in the past. You know that the euphoria of the New Year will soon disappear and many people will continue their lives as they lived the previous year. Nothing will change except the Calendar! This should not be the case with you.
Don’t prepare for the Crossover Service without preparing for the New Year as regards what you hope to achieve with the 365 days, 12 months, or 52 weeks of the New Year. You need to set specific personal goals you want to pursue and achieve in the New Year. I am not referring to a long to-do list.
personal goals are very important in life. Some people have had great opportunities in the past without making the best use of them. Some had flourishing businesses or wonderful promotions in their careers and made much money. But they frittered away the money because they had no specific personal goals they were pursuing which they would have invested the money in. Today those opportunities are gone and they’re regretting it.
The Crossover Service is a corporate service. You should cross over personally before the Crossover! Sit down in the presence of God and plan the New Year. Sit down with the Holy Spirit and set goals for the year. Receive from God goals He wants you to pursue in the New Year – something bigger than you that you will need the help of God to achieve. Receive from the Holy Spirit the plans to achieve the goals. “There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the LORD’s counsel — that will stand” (Proverbs 19:21 (New King James Version).
Don’t copy your goals from others. It’s about your life and what God wants you to do. Don’t enter the New Year without setting goals. If you don’t have set goals, you will live a “here and there” life. You will neglect your own vineyard while you’ll be busy in other people’s vineyards.
Song 1:6 says, “Do not look upon me, because I am dark, because the sun has tanned me. My mother’s sons were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not kept” (New King James Version). Don’t labour in other people’s vineyards in 2022 while you neglect your own vineyard. If you have no goal, you will be available for every imaginable thing. It is often said that if you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.
Set goals for the New Year. This will help you to make the most of the year. It will motivate you. It will help you to live wisely. “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16 New King James Version).
Your goals will help you to move closer to God, depend on Him, and will stretch your faith. Paul said he could do all things through Christ who strengthened him (Philippians 4:13). Hebrews 11:2 says by faith the elders obtained a good testimony. “God gave his approval to people in days of old because of their faith” (Hebrews 11:2 New Living Translation).
Your goals will not only affect your priorities, how you use your time, and spend your money, but they will also influence the choice of those you associate with. Amos 3:3 says, “Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?” (New King James Version). If someone is going to a destination different from yours, it doesn’t make sense to make him your close associate. You don’t board a vehicle going to a different destination because you love the driver! Proverbs 13:20 says he who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.
In other words, your goals for 2022 may separate you from some people and choose new companions for you. This is not pride but, truly, some people are unhelpful to you in realizing your goals. “The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray” (Proverbs 12:26 New King James Version).
Your goals will make a demand on you. You will have to sacrifice some things. You will need to deny yourself of some things. You must practise delayed gratification. You will have to pay some price both spiritual and physical to achieve your goals. But the prize will be worth the price.
The apostle Paul said, “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14 New King James Version). He also said in 1 Corinthians 9:26, “For my part, then, I run with no wavering to the goal. I box not as one beating the air (Montgomery’s New Testament). If you have no goal, you will be shooting randomly and you will deserve any result you get!
The goal that the apostle Paul was pursuing kept him going in the ministry despite all the challenges that could have frustrated him. He was focused on his goal, not the problems. He saw the challenges as unavoidable obstacles he must overcome to achieve his goal.
He said in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27: “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified” (New King James Version).
Don’t run aimlessly in 2022. Have faith in God for greater things. Go beyond the yearly ritual of making New Year resolutions which are ignored as soon as they are made. Prayerfully set goals that you’ll pursue. “Jesus said to him, ‘If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes’” (Mark 9:23 New King James Version). He also said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible’” (Mark 10:27 New King James Version).
As you go in the New Year, you will have to review your goals periodically and, sometimes, make adjustments where necessary. Nevertheless, God must remain number one in your life; your goals must never become your god. Your life will be better as you pursue your God-given goals and continually depend on Him to fulfil them.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Holy Spirit, guide me to set goals that agree with God’s plans for my life. Help me to develop the right plans to achieve my goals. As I go in the New Year, Holy Spirit, connect me with the right people that will help me to realize my goals. Bring into my life the right friends, staff, partners, and associates.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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