For me, January includes starting out right by returning to some basic disciplines of life. Because tax season looms, it always requires doing some essential work on family finances. Typically January involves working on organization – going through files, books, computers and deciding what needs to be thrown out, saved, or used. Often that includes discovering a forgotten treasure – a note from a loved one, a picture from a child, an idea I scribbled on a piece of paper and filed. It involves cleaning out from the Christmas clutter and making way for new things for a new year.
And for me, January is a good time to re-evaluate myself spiritually. I try to dig again into a healthy spiritual disciplines routine. I try to think, “What are some good books I am going to read the next few months to help me grow spiritually?” One man said that there are only 2 things that will make you different 5 years from now than you are today – the people you meet and the books you read. So, choosing good books to help our spiritual growth is essential.
Consider Your Ways
The prophet Haggai exhorted God’s people to think carefully about their ways. After returning to the homeland, they neglected to build God’s Temple and seek first His reign in their lives. Instead, they focused on their own houses and benefits. God challenges them to take spiritual inventory. With the prophet’s words, they can make adjustments where they have slipped.
God’s prophet told them, “Now, the Lord of Armies says this: ‘Think carefully about your ways.’ ” Haggai 1:5
After a busy holiday season, it is easy for me to become self-absorbed. God’s Word reminds me to carefully think about my own life and how I want it to reflect the Lord in the coming year.
This month I began reading a devotional that is new to me. I often use the tried and true classic devotionals by Oswald Chambers, Cowman, Andrew Murray, etc. But I was excited this month to begin using Jerry Bridges’ 31 Days Toward Trusting God. Through 31 brief, but meaty, readings, the Navigators staff member challenges the reader to work at not just obeying God but trusting God.
It’s just as important to trust God as to obey Him. When we disobey God, we defy His authority and despise His holiness. And when we fail to trust Him, we doubt His sovereignty and question His goodness. In both cases, we cast aspersions upon His majesty and HIs character. God views both with equal seriousness. When the people of Israel were hungry, “they spoke against God, saying, ‘Can God spread a table in the wilderness? . . . Can He also give bread or provide meat for His people?” (Ps. 78:19-20). The next two verses tell us, “When the Lord heard, he was full of wrath . . . because they did not believe in God and did not trust his saving power.”
In order to trust God, we must always view our adverse circumstances through the eyes of faith, not of sense.
If you are looking for a good, fresh devotional, I recommend 31 Days Toward Trusting God to you.