The year is rapidly drawing to a close and presents us with an excellent opportunity to plan for the coming year. Now is the time to prayerfully consider what Father would have us do and start taking steps towards it.
However, one big obstacle to this is dwelling on the past. We get stuck on what we didn't get done, our futile efforts, unyielding challenges, mistakes we make, missed opportunities, past failures and much more. And because these constantly play on our minds, it's no surprise some of us don't seem to move beyond that point.
But despite our past or even present encounters, we must hold on to the fact that God still has a good plan for our lives - one to give us a future and hope (Jeremiah 29:11). So regardless of our experiences to this point, we can be confident that our latter years will be greater than the former years. And even though our fig trees have not blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines according to Habakkuk 3:17, we can still forge ahead knowing that the King still has one more move. Simply put, it ain't over!
And so in preparing for what God will be doing in our lives, I believe there is a part we must play. This is NOT the season of sitting down, folding our arms and waiting especially if God has already given you the mandate to go forth, like many of us already have. This is the season to rise up, be bold and courageous. Just as Joshua asked the Israelites (Joshua 18:3), I also challenge you with the same statement;
"How long are you going to sit around on your hands, putting off taking possession of the land that God, the God of your ancestors, has given you? (MSG)
And so, if you are willing to step out by faith, below are some essential principles to embrace for the journey (in addition to your other regular spiritual activities, of course):
Write The Vision Down (Habakkuk 2: 2-3)
You will be amazed how many of us have all these great desires and goals yet never write anything down. Hence, is it any surprise nothing happens or we don't get the results we want? So writing your vision is your first step to success. The benefits of this are manifold such as providing clarity as well as keeping you focused, motivated and hopeful. Once written down, you have something to work with and better still, something to pray over.
Take Consistent Action (Nehemiah 1-6)
Once you are clear on what you want to achieve, you will need to nurture and water the vision or else it will die (PS: this is not a negative confession but a statement of fact!). Whilst some of us seem to think the only action to be taken is prayer, we need to build on this through a plan of consistent action. Notice how Nehemiah took action after being moved by the state of the wall in Jerusalem. He wept, mourned, prayed and fasted alright but when the opportunity presented itself, he grabbed it and forged ahead with it, taking the necessary action. I love the fact that he sought God in prayer and came up with a plan of action which resulted in divine favour with the King and the support of people which led to them achieving the unachievable in a record time of fifty-two days. Nehemiah's story serves to effectively demonstrate how we can combine our passions/goals with faith, prayers and action to achieve great things. PS: A great vision, dream or goal with no action remains a wishful thought!
Become Focused (1 Corinthians 9:26-27)
The bible presents us with many individuals who were noted for being focused on the task God set them. These include Nehemiah, Paul and our Lord Jesus Christ. Like them, we too must follow Isaiah 50:7 and set our faces like a stone (or flint), determined to do Gods will. For without this, we will never finish the task God puts in our hands, with all the distractions around us. To support you with this, it helps to keep the vision in mind or somewhere visible to help you stay on track. In addition to this, by taking time out for prayerful self-reflection, you can assess your progress, grow from your experiences and realign yourself – if needed. I believe Paul puts this beautifully in 1 Corinthians 9:26-27 that says,
26Therefore I do not run uncertainly (without definite aim). I do not box like one beating the air and striking without an adversary. 27But [like a boxer] I buffet my body [handle it roughly, discipline it by hardships] and subdue it, for fear that after proclaiming to others the Gospel and things pertaining to it, I myself should become unfit [not stand the test, be unapproved and rejected as a counterfeit]. (AMP)
Press On, No Matter What
On our journey to achieving Gods plan for our lives, we will face our own 'Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem' who will scoff at us (Nehemiah 2:19). We will have times when we will have to confront our very own 'Golaiths' (1 Samuel 17). There will be times we will be caught between a Red Sea and Egyptians in hot pursuit of us (Exodus 14). There will be times we will be abandoned and have to stand alone, like Paul (2 Timothy 4: 16-18). I think you get the picture now. However, because we have God on our side, we too can confidently forge ahead, no matter what, believing that we are never alone though forsaken by others. Like Paul encourages us in Philippians 3:12-14,
12 I don't mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. (NLT)
In closing, I encourage you to go for all that God has placed in your heart, knowing fully well that with Gods help, you will do mighty things (Psalm 60:12).