December 29, 2009

He plans my future

For the past few years God has given me a focus verse for each year. Many times that verse has helped me with decisions and certainly changed my attitudes and behavior. As 2009 draws to a close, it seems that my verse will be Philippians 1:21, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

I’m reacting to this verse already. It is both convicting and a bit frightening, because it makes me wonder what lies ahead. Is death in the picture? Or will 2010 be a year where God firmly cements my purposes for all that I do?

Today’s devotional points to the next two verses. The author ponders what he would do if he had the choice to live or die and only five minutes to make up his mind. He says that he would be like Paul who could not decide which to choose. 

But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. (Philippians 1:22-23)
I’ve noticed that the decision to live is not based on selfish reasons, but the decision to be with Christ has that element. The  Apostle wants to be with Christ. I do too, but as I’ve already considered this, my desires to go to heaven often have the added element of wanting to escape from the challenges of life.

I also know that my life purpose is not always about serving Christ or others. I’m often more interested in me, myself, and I. That is not what being a Christian means, yet overcoming selfishness is a constant battle. So the year ahead could mean a battle, not against external enemies but the one mentioned in Galatians 5:17. It says, “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.”

Whatever God has in mind, He has already given me a few words to pray whenever things happen that distress or frighten me, words of both faith and submission, and words that have great significance in whatever the new year will bring. They are simply this: Thy will be done.

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