Happy New Year to those who are in the room and those who are watching online!
Many of us are relieved that last year is over. It’s been a tough couple of years for so many people. Today, I believe God’s Word has something specific to say to us, as we begin this new year together.
Here is a wonderful promise from God’s Word for the coming new year. “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” – Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV) Do not dwell on the former things, or the things of the past, because God says, “I am doing a new thing.” Do you believe God wants to do something new in you in 2022?
I am sure some of you have already made New Year’s resolutions for this year. I have some bad news. By the end of January, 40% of those New Year’s resolution are down the drain! By Valentine’s Day, the number climbs to 75%. Why is that? Sometimes we focus more on GOOD intentions than GOD intentions. There is a big difference between the two.
Many of us have good intentions. There are some good things that we want to accomplish. But I want to challenge you to go beyond just having some good intentions this year, something that you want to do, and instead focus on God’s intentions for your life. What does God want you to do? What does God want for you?
As we listen for the Spirit of God today, I believe God will help us discover HIs desire for our lives in this new year. Instead of having just good intentions that are “me centered”, we can have some God intentions that are “God centered”.
Our focus today is on how to discover the new thing God wants to do in you in 2022. I am going to ask you 4 “One-Thing” Questions: As you answer these questions, it is my prayer that God will speak to us about the one “God centered” thing that will be different in our life this coming year.
We are not going to focus on several things. I want to challenge you to focus on one thing. What is the one thing God is calling you to change/do/be? You may say, “Well, what’s the big deal with one thing?” If you focus on ten things in a year and you may get nothing done. But focus on one thing a year for ten years and you might be surprised at what happens.
When one significant thing changes, over ten consecutive years, your life will be changed. What would be different in your life if you establish ten new disciplines, or ten new spiritual passions; those one-thing commitments can begin to add up and your life can be totally transformed.
So, today I want to ask 4 one-thing questions. I believe these questions will help you discern God’s plan and His desire for you. Hopefully that make sense, but if it doesn’t, I hope it will before we are done here today. So, let’s get stated.
One-Thing Question #1 – In your prayer time as you are seeking God this year, What ONE THING do I DESIRE from God? Above everything else, if God said to you; “I will do one thing in your life this coming year” what is the one thing you would ask Him to do?
The Psalmist, David, was described as a man after God’s own heart. Perhaps that was because of the one thing David wrote about in Psalm 27:4. “One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.”
David’s greatest desire was to live in God’s presence each day of his life. Sadly, this is not the greatest desire of many who claim to be believers. What do you desire most in 2022? Do you look forward to being in the presence of the Lord? David said, if I could have one thing, I want to be with God.
If there is one thing that you desire above all else, what is it? What is the one thing you desire from God? Is it the salvation of a family member or friend? Has living Life on Mission compelled you to want God to use you to help bring them into a relationship with Christ?
The premise behind “11:11” is not superstition. Consider it a trigger to remind you to take one minute to say one prayer, for one person, for one reason, that they may come to know the One who died for their sins, His Name is Jesus.
What is one thing you desire from God in 2022? For some, it might be deliverance from a stronghold or addiction that is preventing you from growing in your relationship with God. Your prayer is for the power to overcome. For some, your one thing would be that He would bring healing in your marriage or some other relationship. You may be tempted to pray for one thing that God would do to fix that other person. But what if the one thing that God wants to do is in your heart? What if He wants to do something in you to help heal or change your marriage or another relationship? Are you open to that possibility?
Some of you have been promising you are going to slow down. But someday never seems to be today. Years have gone by, and you are still missing out on so much of life. The one thing you need is to learn to live life according to the rhythms of God’s grace instead do the patterns of this world. This has been an ongoing battle in my own life. Your one thing might be for God to help you enjoy His presence and the people around you more. What one thing would you ask God to do in your life in 2022? God asked King Solomon what he would desire. Solomon asked for wisdom. Is that the one thing you desire? What is your one thing?
One-Thing Question #2 – When it comes to your relationship with God – What ONE THING do I LACK? What is the one thing that is missing?
In Mark, Chapter 10, there is an interesting story of a rich guy who encountered Jesus. He said, “Jesus, what do I need to do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said, “Well, you need to obey the commands.” The guy very proudly said, “I’ve done that.” Jesus looked past his outward obedience and looked straight into His heart. Jesus saw a problem that this guy didn’t even know existed.
The Bible says, “Jesus looked at him and loved him”. Then Jesus said something that was difficult to say, but He said it in love. He never said this to anyone else that we know of. “‘One thing (not ten things) you lack,’ he said. ‘Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’” – Mark 10:21b (NIV)
If there is one thing that stands in the way of you completely following Jesus, your one prayer might be to ask God to reveal it to you. For this one guy, it was wealth. Apparently, his security was found in material things. His self-sufficiency became his deficiency.
What does your money or your possessions mean to you? Jesus’ followers are not required to sell everything, but we are to use our possessions to serve others. This encounter shows us that we must not let our possessions or money keep us from following Jesus. We must remove all barriers to serving him fully.
If Jesus asked, could you give up your house? Your car? Your level of income? Your position on the ladder of promotion? Your reaction may show your attitude toward money—whether it is your servant or your master. This man’s wealth was the thing that was keeping him from going all in with Jesus. Mark 10:22 says, “At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.”
This interaction with Jesus revealed the one thing that this man lacked. Unfortunately, he was unwilling to do the one thing that would have made all the difference in his life, benefitting him spiritually, right then, and for all eternity.
I suspect God has already shown some of you the one thing that is lacking in your life. Have you done anything about it? If you already know your one thing…Are you ready to give it up? Will you choose to let it go? Are you willing to get rid of it?
For some it is about starting something new. When will you start doing it? Are you willing to fix it? Are you ready to step up to the plate and do your part? Is this the year you will take responsibility? Are you ready to own it? When will you apologize? Are you ready to ask for forgiveness?
Do a new thing! It’s a new year. If you will be obedient to the one thing that God shows, He will bless that decision. God always blesses our obedience. What is the one thing that could totally transform your spiritual life? For some, it is to get back (you and your family) in church on a consistent basis. For others, it is to connect or reconnect in a small group. Others need to begin tithing. The decision to give God the first 10% of your increase is a step of faith. You know God has been speaking to you about it, but you haven’t done anything about it. In fact, you have been disobedient. That is the point where God is saying, “Don’t you believe my promises?
Do you trust me to provide for you or not?”
Perhaps your one thing is to find someone to hold you accountable. We tend to drift into sinful habits, not away from them. We drift away from those that you love. You may need someone to speak truth into your life. Accountability may be your one thing.
When it comes to your relationship with God, what one thing do you lack to move forward with God? What do you desire from God this year?
First, if God would give you one thing, what would you ask of Him? Second question – what one thing do you lack? One-Thing Question #3 – What ONE THING do I need to RELEASE to God? What one thing do you continue to hold on to that you need to release this year? What is holding you back from where God wants you to be?
The Apostle Paul was not content to know about God, he truly wanted to know God personally and intimately. Listen to what he said about one thing in Philippians 3:13b-14 (NIV). He said, “One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” We don’t know what Paul’s one thing might have been. What we do know is that he was unwilling to allow anything in the past to prevent him from moving forward in his relationship with God. Paul’s intent was to press on, press forward, and move ahead!
Perhaps the reason you are not where you need to be spiritually is because you are holding on to something from the past. It’s time to let it go. Someone hurt you. Let it go! Let go of the bitterness and the unforgiveness. God wants to do something new in you in 2022. That might be a good bumper sticker.
If God is going to do something new in you in 2022, you can’t dwell on the past. You’ve got to forget what is behind and you’ve got to press on toward what is ahead. Let go of the pain of the past. That could mean 100 different things to 100 different people. Let that sink in.
If you are holding onto some past sin that has been confessed. Let it go. It’s been forgiven by God. It is time to move on. Let go of the pain of the past and press on. Let it go. It’s a new day. God is doing a new thing. What is one thing that you need to let go of so that you can become the man, woman or young person, that God is calling you to be?
One-Thing Question #4 – What ONE PROMISE do I need to CLAIM? The Psalmist said, “I praise God for what he has promised; Yes, I praise the LORD for what he has promised.” – Psalm 56:10 (NLT) This one thing I know, God is still on the throne, and He is for me! “Not a single one of all the good promises the LORD had given to the family of Israel was left unfulfilled; everything he had spoken came true.” – Joshua 21:45 (NLT)
God keeps His promises. What promise do you need to claim? There are so many promises in the Word of God. I want to share a few. Perhaps one of these will stand out to you, or you can search the scriptures for your own promise for 2022. If you are struggling financially and you’re afraid; God has promised to meet your needs.
“And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19 (NLT)
Is there a recurring sin in your life? Guess what? There is a way out!
“God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT)
There is a power through Christ to help you overcome the temptation and sin that has gripped you for so long.
In First John 1:9 we find God’s promise to forgive…
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9 (NIV)
You don’t have to live under the weight of your sins from the past. It’s forgiven.
“You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.” – Micah 7:19 (NIV)
Claim that promise personally today.
“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” – Psalm 103:11-12 (NIV)
It is no accident he said east from west.
God has promise that He will always be there for us.
“For God has said, ‘I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.’” – Hebrews 13:5 (NLT)
“God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.” – Psalm 46:1 (NLT)
God’s promise of power is found in Isaiah 40:29-31.
“He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” – Isaiah 40:29-31 (NLT)
In Psalm 32:8, He promises to guide you and give you direction.
“The LORD says, ‘I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.’” – Psalm 32:8 (NLT)
Maybe you don’t know what to do next? If you are one of His sheep, you will recognize the voice of the Good Shepherd. He has promised to guide you.
“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” – Isaiah 30:21 (NIV)
When we choose to pray instead of worry, He promises to give us peace.
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)
God promises to give you power to defeat Satan and to overcome the work of the devil.
“So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” – James 4:7 (NLT)
God promises that nothing will separate you from His love.
“Nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:39 (NLT)
God promises that we are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus.
God promises eternal life through His Son, Jesus.
“These are His promises! For ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.’ – Romans 10:13 (NLT)
There are some things in life that I don’t know, but this one thing I know; God ALWAYS keeps His PROMISES. According to His Word, He is with me. He is for me. He will never leave me or forsake me.
What is your one thing? What is the one thing do you desire from God above all else? What one thing do you lack? Will you have the courage to ask for God’s help in 2022? What is the one thing you need to release? It’s time to forget it and move on. Let it go and press ahead. And what is the one promise you need to claim?
It is a new year. Forget the former things. Do not dwell on the past. The Psalmist David said, “This I know: God is on my side!” – Psalm 56:9b (NLT) That is great news! Somebody needs to hear that and believe it today.
Our God is a good God who is with you now, and He is doing a new thing. Let’s trust Him for it. David had confidence in the promises of God, and you can to.