Resolve to Be Content in the New Year
“Now godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Tim 6:6 NKJV
January 1st is the day for many that self-improvement resolutions are made. Most will be financial, business, or personal fitness goals.
There is nothing wrong with any of that.
In fact, Proverbs 21:5 states that the plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty.
Yet as children of the King we should be cautious of the motivation behind any resolutions we might make. Are our goals generated from a state of discontentment?
To say “I won’t be content until this happens” means God is not enough for us now. And if God is not enough now, it means we’ll be striving to accomplish that resolution by our own strength.
Paul says, “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.” Phil 4:11 NKJV
Paul knew who he was. Paul was aware of his identity as a child of the King. When we say to ourselves, “I’m lacking”, or “I’m insufficient in my current state”, then we are living below our privileges. The prodigal son left his father’s estate to work by his own strength. That didn’t turn out well. The other son stayed, but lived below his privileges because he was waiting on something he already had access to.
Remember, godliness with contentment is great gain. Unlike the riches of the world, the riches of God cannot be taken away from you. When we are content we put ourselves in a position for God to bless us.
Once we know who we are in Christ, every resolution we set should be in Him and for Him. There is nothing wrong with wanting to improve our situation for the Glory of the Kingdom. In fact, God commissioned us to go out and do the work of His Kingdom. And when he commissioned us, he also equipped us with everything we need.
Perhaps a good practice for the start of this New Year is simply deciding to be content.
Before setting any goals or resolutions, spend some quiet time with the Father thanking him for what He has done. Thank Him for who He is, who you are, and acknowledge that He is more than enough. Regardless of your state: in debt, deployed in the military, family health issues, homeless… God is enough for you. It’s important to find that place. It may be difficult at first. It may only come through prayer and worship. But God would rather have you be complete in Him with zero resolutions than discontent in Him and hit every resolution you set.
Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Psalms 37:4
Another way to look at this scripture is that if we delight ourselves in the Lord, our desires will begin to align with his desires.
So find that special place of contentment where the Father can show you just how complete in Him you are. Delight yourself in His ways. When you do this, any goal or resolution you set will be one that God can bless!
Daniel 9:2-3, 19 2in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. 3So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.
19O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.”
The prophet Daniel was reading the prophecies of Jeremiah and discovered that it was time for the captivity to be over. He didn’t run out and tell everyone to pack his bags. In his heart he knew the people were not spiritually ready, so he interceded for them in prayer. He discerned the need for repentance before they returned and ended up making the same mistakes. He was very earnest in his intercession even fasting and donning sackcloth and ashes.
What a heart this man of God had for the people of God! But even more than that, he had a heart after God. He closes his prayer by asking because the people and city bear the name of Jehovah. He was concerned about the reputation of the name of the Lord in the world. Have you ever prayed for the church you attend with that in mind? “God help us because we are a poor example of Christ. We need forgiveness and restoration because we are called Christians.” It is a new perspective for many of us. We pray about many things but rarely out of concern for the name of the LORD. May the LORD help us all to be a testimony of the great name of God in all we do and say.
The angel Gabriel came to speak to Daniel about his prayer. Gabriel told Daniel that he is highly esteemed. He is in heaven’s Hall of Fame. Tomorrow’s evening devotion (January 1) is on the incredible word the angel brought to Daniel about forgiveness and restoration.
Consider: May we all prefer the honor of heaven over the honor of men.
When You Come to the Iron Gate – Streams in the Desert – December 31
- 202131 Dec
“Peter was kept in prison: but prayer (instant and earnest prayer) was made for him” (Acts 12:5, margin).
Peter was in prison awaiting his execution. The Church had neither human power nor influence to save him. There was no earthly help, but there was help to be obtained by the way of Heaven. They gave themselves to fervent, importunate prayer. God sent His angel, who aroused Peter from sleep and led him out through the first and second wards of the prison; and when they came to the iron gate, it opened to them of its own accord, and Peter was free.
There may be some iron gate in your life that has blocked your way. Like a caged bird you have often beaten against the bars, but instead of helping, you have only had to fall back tired, exhausted and sore at heart. There is a secret for you to learn, and that is believing prayer; and when you come to the iron gate, it will open of its own accord.
How much wasted energy and sore disappointment will be saved if you will learn to pray as did the Church in the upper room! Insurmountable difficulties will disappear; adverse circumstances will prove favorable if you learn to pray, not with your own faith but with the faith of God (Mark 11:22, margin). Souls in prison have been waiting for years for the gate to open; love ones out of Christ, bound by Satan, will be set free when you pray till you definitely believe God.
–C. H. P.
Emergencies call for intense prayer. When the man becomes the prayer nothing can resist its touch. Elijah on Carmel, bowed down on the ground, with his face between his knees, that was prayer–the man himself.
No words are mentioned. Prayer can be too tense for words. The man’s whole being was in touch with God, and was set with God against the powers of evil. They couldn’t withstand such praying. There’s more of this embodied praying needed.
–The Bent-knee Time
“Groanings which cannot be uttered are often prayers which cannot be refused.”
–C. H. Spurgeon
“And now, LORD, what do I wait for? My hope is in You.” – Psalm 39:7 NKJV
Emerging from the mists of time, a hymn written by an unknown author put life in perspective for many believers. Known because it was sung in a commune in northern France many centuries ago, this hymn is a reminder of the passages of time and the importance of focusing on God. It is known as “The Year Is Gone, Beyond Recall” (translated by Francis Pott in the mid-19th century).
The hymn reminds us that the past is gone “with all its hopes and fears.” We can relive past events in our minds but cannot live those events again. This finality reminds believers of our dependence on God. We should praise Him “for countless gifts received.”
This also is an opportunity to ask God for His perspective on our future. We come to Him seeking His blessing on the year ahead. We ask that He might defend our land and give us peace, “forgive this nation’s many sins,” help us stay pure and not yield to temptations. We ask that He might help us flee from evil and win the crown of life.
This hymn is a prayer that God would help us serve Him in the future and keep His “watchful eye” on us. We pray that our lives would praise Him. And we pray that in all things we may bring Him glory.
As this ancient hymn reminds us, take time to commit the coming year to God.