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Discussion Forum : Articles and Sermons : Following Jesus’ Example in the New Year by Zac Poonen

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 Following Jesus’ Example in the New Year by Zac Poonen

Jesus’ life was the most beautiful, the most orderly, the most peaceful and the happiest life that this world has ever seen. This was because of His total obedience to God’s Word. Wherever there is perfect obedience to God, there is perfection and beauty – as we see in the planets and the stars. “The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life” (Prov. 14:27) – and Jesus obeyed the command to “live in the fear of the Lord all the day long” (Prov. 23:17).

When Jesus walked on earth, people saw the life of heaven in Him. His compassion, His consideration for others, His purity, His selfless love and His humility were all expressions of the very life of God. The Holy Spirit has now come to bring this life of God and the atmosphere of heaven into our hearts. We have been placed by God on earth to manifest this heavenly life to the world.

We read in Ephesians 2:10 that God has a specific plan for each of our lives. He has planned where we should live and what we should do each day. In every case, His choice must be the best, for He knows us so well and He has taken every factor into consideration. It is wisest therefore for us to submit to His will in all matters – major as well as minor.

Be a Listener
If we are to do God’s will each day, we must develop the habit of listening to God every day. As Jesus said about Mary (in Luke 10:42), the one thing we need more than anything else is to listen to His Word. In the very first chapter of the Bible, we read that God spoke His Word every day – and as a result the earth was transformed little by little every day. If we want to be transformed into the likeness of Christ this year, the most important thing we need is to hear and obey God every day.

True spirituality comes through denying our own will and obeying the will of God consistently day after day. It was such a consistent obedience to the Father’s will each day that enabled Jesus to be well-pleasing to His Father. We too can be well-pleasing to God if we choose that way each day of this new year.

Two things are mentioned about how Jesus lived during the first thirty years of His life: “He was tempted in all points as we are and yet did not sin” (Heb.4:15) and “He never pleased Himself” (Rom 15:3). Jesus faithfully resisted temptation at every point and He never sought His own pleasure in any matter. To follow Jesus in the new year is to follow Him in these two areas primarily.

The part of our body that we use the most every day is our tongue. Jesus used His tongue to encourage others, thus making it an instrument of life in God’s hands. He spoke soothing words to the weary that lifted their heavy spirits. And Isaiah 50:4 tells us that it was because Jesus listened to His Father’s voice daily that He had this right word for each weary soul who came across His path. We too can have such a blessed ministry to weary souls around us every day of this new year, if we develop the habit of listening to God every day. If we reject all speaking of worthless words and choose to speak only precious words in our daily conversation, God will give us His words and make us His mouth – as He made Jeremiah (See Jeremiah 15:19).

Be a Worshipper
Jesus said, “You shall worship the Lord your God and you shall serve Him” (Matt.4:10). Notice there that worship precedes service. Jesus also said that “the Father seeks for such worshippers” (John 4:23).

Worshipping God is not a matter of singing songs to Him on Sunday mornings, but rather desiring Him alone and nothing else on earth every day (Psa.73:25). Tell the Lord from your heart that you are not interested in anything material or earthly in this new year but only that you might be filled with His Holy Spirit to live for Him alone every day. If you sincerely mean that, the Lord will meet with you and the coming new year will be the best year you have ever had. God will draw close to you, transform you a little more into the likeness of Christ and bless others through you.

Jesus was the happiest man who ever walked on this earth. His happiness came out of doing the will of His Father – and not by having an easy way through life. He knew His Father as perfect love and so He joyfully submitted to all that the Father sent His way. That was the secret of His life. To have faith is to believe in a God who is perfect in love and whose commandments are all for our good.

In Psalm 16:8, it is written “I have set the Lord always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will never be moved”. That was how Jesus lived (Acts 2:25). He was never shaken because He lived in His Father’s presence always. And so, He was always full of joy as well (Psa.16:11). That is how God wants us to live too.

Jesus was not interested in finding out the minimum that the Father required from Him, but rather the maximum that He could offer to His Father. Our attitude should also be: “What is the maximum that the Lord can get out of my one earthly life in this coming year?”

So be a listener to God and a worshipper of God this year.
And then you will have a blessed new year indeed!! Amen.


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