Jeremiah 50:1–46, Romans 12:9–13:7, Proverbs 27:1–27
In the days of Jeremiah and the captivity of God’s people in Babylon, it seems to me that those Babylonians must have thought they had it all. They were successful against their enemies, even those who supposedly trusted the Most High God. Who could go against them? Whatever could ruin their accomplishments?
They had no idea what was about to happen. God had more power than all their armies and was going to bring in an army from the north to destroy their plans and upset their confidence.
“Thus says the Lord of hosts: The people of Israel are oppressed, and the people of Judah with them. All who took them captive have held them fast; they refuse to let them go. Their Redeemer is strong; the Lord of hosts is his name. He will surely plead their cause, that he may give rest to the earth, but unrest to the inhabitants of Babylon.” (Jeremiah 50:33–34) They may have made plans, but God was about to change them.
This time of year, I tend to make plans, but not quite the same as that ancient nation. I just want to finish unfinished projects, start new ones, cook new recipes, sew up that pile of fabric, walk outside more, get involved with others, and put all my ideas on a to-do list. But God is the Lord of my life. He says, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.” (Proverbs 27:1)
This does not mean He has no interest in my to-do list. He often urges me to puts items on it, and He often urges me to take some of them off, but He is more concerned about the kind of person I am than what I do. Whether I am alone or with others, using my hands to make something, or sitting still and reading a book, He uses His Word to show me the attitudes that I should have, no matter what I am doing.
Here are some of them from Romans 12 and 13: Love without hypocrisy. Hate evil. Hold tightly to good. Love others like family. Honor others. Don’t be lazy but fervently serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of other Christians. Show hospitality. Bless any who persecute me, not cursing them.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”
If others wrong me, never seek revenge, but leave that to God. Instead, be good to any enemies and don’t let evil get the best of me. Instead, overcome evil with good.
Obey governing authorities. This includes traffic laws like speed limits! God put those leaders in place to keep me out of trouble. I’m also to pay what is owed, including taxes and all debts, and respect and honor those to whom respect and honor are owed.
There are many more, but these qualities mean that I don’t need resolutions for the year ahead; I just need to rely on the grace of Jesus Christ to think and act as His child, no matter what I’m involved in.