Summary: Choices we must make if we are to enter abundant life.
Put Your Best Foot Forward
Woodlawn Baptist Church
December 31, 2006
Read Joshua 3:15-17,
It is a great day to be in the Lord’s house – a day of celebration, perhaps some contemplation, and even the end of some holiday frustration! With a new year come new resolutions, and probably more than we’d care to admit a new resolve to keep old resolutions. Several of you probably don’t even bother with resolutions. Most who don’t make them stopped somewhere along the way simply because they didn’t keep the ones they used to make!
For the last several days news stations, web-sites and a host of other sources have been listing for us the top three to ten things people want to change, goals they want to accomplish, habits they want to begin or end, men and women they’d like to date or marry, and commitments they want to keep in the upcoming year. I found lists naming the top 5 resolutions for your websites, for your email, for your pets, for your job, health, finances, and for your looks, among others. One survey I liked gave the top 3 things women wanted from their men in 2007. They were for their men to…1) be more romantic, 2) lose some weight, and 3) stop smoking. Other popular answers were that women wanted their men to stop snoring, to stop being a liar, to get a job, to grow up and finally to go away!
I believe if we were to ask Him this morning, we would find that God also has a list of things He would like for us to do or change or be in 2007. If we were to search His Word we’d find that God wants for us to experience more of Him...that He would like for us to lose some weight – that spiritual flab we’ve put on from too much lying around…that He would like for us to get more exercise as we run the race, fight the good fight, flee the Devil and walk in the Spirit…and that He’d love for us to begin eating right as we feast on the Word of God – sweeter than honey and the honeycomb according to the psalmist.
The Old Testament paints for us an amazing picture of the life God desires for us to have and of the life God desires for us to leave. He had saved Israel from their bondage in Egypt to give to them a land of abundance and delight – but in a moment they refused to trust and obey God and landed themselves in 40 years of wilderness wandering – not going back, but not going forward either. For 40 years the people slowly died, half wishing they had obeyed, half wishing God would have left them in Egypt. We find a people who, because of their choices spent 40 years grumbling, unsatisfied, discontent, and restless: always knowing what they could have had, but never being able to have it.
Imagine with me as we stand today in 2006 looking forward to 2007 that we are standing on Jordan’s edge looking across into Canaan. Standing on the wrong side of the Jordan Israel could easily have talked about how blessed they were. Every morning when they got up there was food enough for the day just lying on the ground. The Bible says their clothes and their shoes never wore out. They need water? Just smack a rock and it gushes out. Can cross the sea? God parts if for them. Not sure which way to go? God gives them a cloud by day and a pillar of fire to follow by night – who needs a TomTom when you’ve got God giving you directions? For the most part God removed their enemies from their path, and not even a man like Balaam could curse them. But in spite of all the blessings they knew there was something far greater on the other side of the river. Canaan would forever be better than the wilderness.
It is too easy to look back and talk about what a blessed people we are. God has provided for us. He has protected us. We look around and count our blessings and know that God has blessed us much more than we deserve, but still we want the abundant life we know He wants for us. We want…
• To live in homes where husbands and wives love one another
• To be in families where mothers and fathers are honored and respected
• To see children loved and cared for with tenderness
• Better job situations
• To know that our time here means something
• To know God like we read about in Scripture
• Friendships that are real and meaningful