The Year of Greater ClarityI have been sensing what is in store for the coming year and what needs to be done to align myself/ourselves with where God wants to take us.
One of the first and most powerful directives I hear from God is based on 2 Timothy 2:15:
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth."
In the King James and New King James versions, we hear, "someone who rightly divides the word of truth."
The Year of Deep Study and Deep Understanding of the Bible
Over and over, in my heart and spirit, I hear God saying, "Much will be solved if my people will get back in the Word, not superficially, not combatively with others, but humbly...deeply seeking to understand, go deeper, know My heart, to gain truth and revelation.
The Bereans were praised as a New Testament people (Acts 17:11) who would listen to the Apostle Paul and then go back and search scripture for themselves to see if what he was preaching was scriptural and accurate.
If ever there was a time to hunger for and explore the Word, it is now. Why? Because there is confusion, varieties of questionable teaching, factions and fighting. There is increased discounting of and indifference to the Bible.
We must be people who soak in, marinate in, chew on, and deeply value the Word, allowing the Holy Spirit to teach us and not just picking and choosing parts to value and study but embracing the "whole counsel" (Acts 20:27) of God's word.
This will reset, re-calibrate us as individuals and as communities of God. We need to get new clarity on theology, recognize the important of theology, and spend time in study.
I have been reading books on the Trinity such as James White's, The Forgotten Trinity, testing his words against scripture and reflecting on the accurate and inaccurate teachings around us today regarding the nature of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Those who do this deep dive into the Word will be deeply blessed and refreshed by powerful new anointing in the Holy Spirit that comes through God speaking by His Word. We are healed and helped by the Word of God. It is, as the Bible says, a sharp, double edged sword that can get down to the heart of what is going on in us and make us whole and secure.
The year of Fresh Praying of John 17 and Unity in the Body
Watching the state of things in our nation particularly, it seems like unity and fellowship are impossibly far away from us - even in the church.
I just attended a meeting where the discussion of a denomination breaking apart was at the center of the gathering. Many families are fractured.
It seems hopeless that spiritually, politically, and in so many other ways we could hope to be "one" in this time.
But Jesus prayed it about His church:
"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one. Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me." John 17:20-21
I do not remember the author of this statement, but I know John Wesley repeated it:
In essentials, unity.
In non-essentials, liberty.
In all things, charity.
This year, despite the noise, hatred, and enmity that abound, unity among believers will start to rebound and we will see, that the world will be drawn to Christ and know that He is real and was "sent by the Father." It is a key to the next Awakening that we gather, not scatter. There must be a laying down of territoriality, of competition over ministry. We will begin to see that everything rests on this, that the world must see us not as bitter, sour, critical people, but as those who emanate the love coming from the very throne room of God. Unity will arise. I do not mean tolerance for any and every message, but unity will arise and spread among people who truly follow Christ and it will be transformative. "They will know we are Christians by our love." It is coming.
The Year of Deeper Understanding of the Fullness of God
Just as I spoke of the book, The Forgotten Trinity, above, there has been another pattern of forgetting in Christian communities - one of the Persons of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit and the baptism of the Spirit are too often diminished in Christian communities. But, a true Christian is a Spirit-filled person. This will be a year of greater awakening to and love for, worship of, the Holy Spirit.
Various writers have talked about the symbolism of steps in our Christian life, relating them to the work of Jesus on the cross.
His death upon the cross has been connected to our confession of sin, our repentance, and dying to sin.
His burial has been compared to our undergoing water baptism, being "buried beneath the water."
And Jesus' resurrection has been compared to our being filled with the Holy Spirit, which is the promise of scripture and the only hope we have of having a life that resembles Christ's. The Christian life is "hopeless without the Holy Ghost," was a comment of Pastor Samuel Chadwick's. (The Way to Pentecost) It's too hard without this divine life in us.
The Year of Bold, Expectant Declaration
Finally, this is a year where we must speak up and will speak up.
God will give us the holy boldness to say what needs to be said, to cease accepting things as they are when they are faulty, and to declare how things ought to be. It is going to be the year of voices that have not been heard. The year of voices that are like trumpets calling us to attention, declaring what is true and right, speaking out the goodness of God and His perspective with great eloquence. Many will find the courage to take on evil and speak up.
Voices that have been silenced will come alive out of the "back row." The things we declare will come to pass as our stirred up faith makes fertile ground for them.
This is a year where so much is going to be realized, long-awaited dreams and hopes will come to pass.
But, our bold voices, deep adherence to God's Word, and obedience to lay down strife and find unity are going to be key. It will be a year of fresh, dynamic proclamation. We will be compelled to speak up but with profound love.