heading into 2017 counting the cost
“For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” 1 Corinthians 2:2
Whenever we come into a new year it’s always good to take inventory on what the Lord has done in and through our lives the past year; the answered prayer, changed lives, ministry opportunities, and even mistakes. We recount all the great things the Lord has done in our lives and we look expectantly for all the things He has yet to do. As 2016 comes to a close I ponder Jonathan Edwards resolutions: Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will. Are you resolute to live for God no matter what the cost?
The day in which we are living calls for men and women to be resolute in their stand for God no matter what the cost. To be resolute means to be determined, adamant, single-minded, firm, unwavering, steadfast, tenacious and unshakable. Paul said in Acts 20:24: “But none of these things move me, nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” Many things in life try and “move” us; they try and shake us to the core. But we must be resolute in our stand for righteousness, something I am learning slowly but surely the longer I walk with the Lord. When we experience times of shaking where do we turn, and who do we run to? It’s important that we turn to the Lord.
David and Jason Benham stood for what was right (marriage between a man and a women and the life of the unborn child) and were removed from HGTV’s reality show “Flip Forward”. There is always a cost to walking closely with the Lord, the higher the calling the greater the cost. They said in their book, Whatever the Cost, “When you pick up your sword to fight in the exposed places of your city, it will cost you something. The question is, will you obey whatever the cost?” How you see the battle determines how you will fight it. If you see the battle as a physical one, you will pick up the wrong weapon, just as Peter did when he cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant (John 18:10). But if you see with spiritual eyes as we should, then you will choose the correct weapons: truth and love. We as believers are to be love for God is love. We cannot walk in the Spirit while being hateful and bitter at the same time. This requires that we first know the God of love intimately and then that we act like the God we know and love. This is not an easy task, even for people that have served the Lord for 25 years.
When we are hurt or wronged we are just like anyone else. We want to defend ourselves. But the Lord tells us that He is our defense. He is our buckler, our rock and our fortress. He is where our strength comes from. In our distress, He leads us to the rock that is higher than us. He leads us to the solid rock, the only one that is immovable; the Rock Jesus. This is where we fall when times are tough, and this is where we go when we need to be lifted up. It’s here that we find strength and rest, forgiveness and the love that can only come from the Spirit. When we want to give up, He is there for us. When we want to give in, He strengthens us. When we want to run away, He finds us. Taking a Stand for what’s right doesn’t always feel right. Being bold for Christ will cost. The bolder you are the higher the cost. My prayer for you this year is that you will be resolute in your faith, firmly established in Christ and not easily moved. Take time today to consider the cost that Jesus paid for you and commit to in turn be resolute for Him! Happy New year and let’s make 2017 a year to remember!