5 Things God Needs From You This Year

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At the end of each year I reflect on what has happened that year: my wins, my losses, my failures, my successes.

This becomes the launching pad for planning my goals for the next year.

As I map out areas in my life that need growth, I pick a word that will become the focus word for that year.

I try to find books and resources to help support that word, as I focus on that one area of growth in my life.

group of people at a table celebrating new years

This has been a life-changing activity for me, because it has moved me from being a consumer Christian to being an amabassador.

Here’s what I mean by that.

It is very easy in our Christian walk to view God as a resource for meeting our needs.

Prayer is a shopping list
The Bible is a handbook
Church is a filling station

And everything about our Christian walk centers around our needs being met.

But God doesn’t want Christianity to be about us consuming, but about us giving and going!

God wants prayer to go from being a shopping list to being a conversation – relationship building.

God wants the Bible to go from being a handbook to being a letter in which we get to know the Lover of our Souls much deeper.

God wants church to go from being a filling station to being a serving station – where we get to share with others all that God has done in and through us during the week.

Five Things God Needs From You This Year

I used to start the year with a list of things I wanted from God in the new year.

This year I’m looking at the new year differently.

What does God need from me so that He is free and able to adjust areas in my life that are preventing His Spirit from flowing freely to those in need around me.

This week we began a new study in the book of Ezra, and here is where we find Ezra and those with him who are beginning to rebuild the temple.

The house of the Lord was going to be rebuilt.

Worship was going to be restored.

God was going to redeem His people.

But God wasn’t going to speak the temple into existence, as He did the Universe at Creation.

He was going to use people and He their effort and their investment to make it happen.

Sisters, salvation is a free gift. The Holy Spirit is a free deposit in our lives.

But if we are to live this Christian life in victory and freedom, we need to be willing to make an investment.

1. Cleansing

The first thing that needed to happen is that they needed to clean away the rubble.

Decades before, Nebuchadnezzar had come and raided the temple and decimated the city of Jerusalem.

70 years, 2 1/2 generations, have come and gone.

Weeds had overtaken the city. Wildlife had moved in. It was not only a mess, but a jungle.

They couldn’t just arrive and begin construction.

They had to first clear away the weeds and brush and chase out the wildlife that had invaded the city and been allowed to inhabit the wasteland.

Have you allowed the world to invade your heart lately?

Maybe you’ve invited in worldly philosophies and ideas.

Perhaps you’ve been lazy with your entertainment and have allowed immorality, profanity, and violence to traffic in your heart.

Is it undisciplined use of devices and social media that has invaded and crowded out your precious time with the Lord you used to have?

Maybe you’ve allowed yourself to become entangled once again with the bondage of your past.

God wants to begin cleansing your heart today.

But this requires an effort on your part. He won’t simply march in and begin working on you. He is waiting to be invited in and given the freedom to cleanse and restore.

2. Sacrifice

Rebuilding and restoring the temple wasn’t going to be cheap.

They needed materials and labor.

Also, they needed a way to feed, clothe, and house all of those who had chose to return to their homeland.

So, they took up an offering.

Restoration requires sacrifice.

Worship requires sacrifice.

God doesn’t save us and then let us continue living the way we’ve always lived.

He is going to cleanse us and then look away when we go back out to the same pit that defiled us in the first place.

He expects that we are going to sacrifice and walk away from those things that offend Him.

From those things that nailed His only begotten Son on the cross.

His restoration comes with the requirement that we live our lives radically different from the world around us.

3. Right focus

But many of the priests and Levites and heads of the fathers’ houses, old men who had seen the first temple, wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this temple was laid before their eyes. Yet many shouted aloud for joy, so that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people, for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the sound was heard afar off.

Ezra 3:12-13

There were those present who had seen the first temple, likely as children.

They remembered the luxury and splendor of it, how proud they were to have such a glorious temple to worship God.

But this new temple, it wasn’t going to be a large or as luxurious.

But rather than rejoice that they were building a temple at all, they were sorrowful that the temple wouldn’t be as before.

They couldn’t look ahead at what God had for them, because they were busy focusing on what they’d lost.

Maybe you’ve been away from the Lord, and you look back at the wasted years you’ve spent in the world.

Maybe you’re living with life-long consequences because of choices you’ve made.

As God begins restoring you, you have two choices:

  • You can weep and mourn what might have been or
  • You can rejoice in what God is doing now.

If we allow ourselves to get stuck mourning our past, we will never fully enter into the freedom and joy He has for us.

God gets no pleasure or glory out of our feeble attempts to atone for our past through needless and endless mourning.

Yes, we must repent and very often that repentance requires tears.

But once the repentance has happened, God wants to turn our mourning into dancing!

He wants us to live in joy!

Our continual mourning over past sin offends Him, because once He’s cleanses us of our sin, He remembers it no more.

Our refusal to move on into the joy He has for us is a denial of His sacrifice and His power to justify us and make us new.

It is time to put away the past and move into a restored life filled with hope, joy, and all good things!

4. Determination

Then the people of the land demoralized the people of Judah and terrified them while building.

Ezra 4:4 – Modern English Version

When the people began rebuilding the temple, they met resistance.

This wasn’t just any kind of resistance, though. It says their enemies demoralized and terrified them.

When you begin to take steps to allow God to restore you and rebuild His temple in you, you will meet resistance.

The enemy will bring up discouragement, frustration, past failures, and temptations.

He will resist you in ways you think you can’t handle.

And you can’t on your own. But you have to decide ahead of time that when resistance and discouragement come, you are determined to stand strong.

The people of God allowed the distraction and discouragement of the enemy to stop the work on the temple.

Don’t allow this to happen in your life.

Stand strong in the Lord’s strength (Ephesians 6:10) and resist the enemy (James 4:7).

5. Right identity

We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth

Ezra 5:11

Do you know who you are in Christ?

Do you know what it means that He has redeemed and restored you?

Do you know the power of knowing your identity in Christ?

When we know who we are, the enemy can’t defeat or discourage us.

He will try, but all of his attempts will fail.

When our identity in Christ becomes the core of who we are, it is a solid foundation on which we stand that cannot be shaken.

It becomes our passport through difficult times that ensures our safety on the other side.

It becomes our permission to do what the enemy tells us we cannot do.

It turns every no into “Yes and Amen!”

It turns every negative report of the enemy to a victory report of the Lord.

It turns every discouragement into a challenge to see the banner of the Lord lifted high.

If you do not know, or if you are unsure of who you are in Christ, I encourage you to grab the resources below and begin meditating on them until they become the core of your spiritual walk.

Dear sister, if you are needing restoration and rebuilding in your life, I encourage you to join in this study with us.

Begin walking through these five steps today.

Get involved in a strong and stable local church body and surround yourself with godly women who will pray for you, encourage you and build you up.

More Resources on Your Identity in Christ

layout of the Bible verses bookmark for My identity in Christ
30 Day Prayer Challenge for Your Identity in Christ
Read the book of Galatians with me chapter by chapter, word by word, and experience the true freedom God has for you! #alittlerandr #Galatians #freedom #Bible
Who Am I In Christ - A Bible Study in Ephesians
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