How can we make the most of this upcoming year? How can we most glorify God in a new year? The answer, in part, lies in Joshua 1:6-9:
Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
These timeless commands have just as much bearing on our lives today as they did when they were first issued to Joshua at this pivotal moment in Israel’s history. With many desires and resolutions for the new year, consider the following to guide your focus toward Christ.
Be strong in the Lord (vs. 6)
First, be strong in the Lord. Three times in rapid fire succession, God said to Joshua, “Be strong and courageous” (vs. 6, 7, 9). With many daunting challenges and imminent dangers ahead, this newly-appointed leader had to remain strong in the strength that God supplies. The swelling Jordan, fortified cities, and swarming enemies would all demand that Joshua be strong in his faith, if the mission was to succeed.
Similarly, Paul challenges us: “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might” (Eph. 6:10). Again he says, “Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 2:1). Those who are strong in grace are divinely empowered for effective service. A. W. Tozer writes: “The church at this moment needs men, the right kind of men, bold men. The talk is that we need revival . . . but God will not revive mice. He will not fill rabbits with the Holy Ghost.” In the overcoming strength of Christ, let us each be bold as a lion (Prov. 28:1)! By meditating on the gospel and seeking the Lord earnestly, we can be emboldened to enter a new year.
Be straight in your walk (vs. 7)
Second, be straight in your spiritual walk. God continued in Joshua 1: “Be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you.” If Joshua is to be victorious, the Lord requires his full obedience. He must “not turn” from the Word “to the right or to the left.” That is to say, he must not be pulled aside to pursue the worldly wisdom and pagan idolatry of the Canaanites. Instead, Joshua—and all believers—must stay on the narrow path in strict obedience. No matter the temptation or the trial, the Lord has given us all we need to follow Him in true faith, repentance, and obedience.
Be saturated with the Word (vs. 8)
Third, be saturated with the Word of God. God commanded Joshua that the Word must “not depart from your mouth.” He must be so full of Scripture that whenever he speaks to address God’s people, divine truth must flow from his lips. Such straight talk necessitates that he “meditate” on the Word, constantly pondering its truths and absorbing it with his mind. In a world full of distractions, meditation is a lost art. Without this vital focus, all other spiritual successes are misdirected and futile. This year, endeavor to dig deeper into the Word of God than you ever have before.
Be sustained by the Lord (vs. 9)
Fourth, be sustained by the Lord’s power. God promised Joshua: “[I] will be “with you wherever you go.” The Lord pledges to go before him and walk beside him, to protect and provide for him. God will be ever-present and all-sufficient to supply all that Joshua needs to be victorious, within the will of God.
Even so, God is with us in every step of life’s journey. Keeping any resolution is possible only with the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. It is by His guidance and strength that we will be sustained one more year––as we grow in our communion and love for our God.
As we look upon new challenges and joys in the coming year, may you love and honor Christ anew with a deepening resolve to glorify Him.