Deuteronomy 5:33 Stay on the path that the Lord your God has commanded you to follow. Then you will live long and prosperous lives in the land you are about to enter and occupy.
Proverbs 16:9 We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.
John 8:12 Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”
With the events of the past year now in our rearview mirror, many of us are not merely walking into the new year. Many of us are running into the new year! Everyone wants to move well past the turmoil of last year and jump right into a new year. A new year is like opening the cover of a brand new book. The book smells new and fresh. The pages are not worn, and they may even stick together at first. But wait, as you open the book, you find that the pages are blank. There is nothing there. The pages of the book for the new year are completely blank. It is a blank slate. Who knows what wonderful adventure lies within the cover of this new exciting book? In this particular book, only God knows. For you see, God is outside of time. He already knows what will happen in the coming year, and He knows exactly how to prepare you and help you make it through.
Our cousin, Carl Strosnider, shared this statement on his daily devotional site this morning, “Walk with God, and you will never step into anything He can’t bring you out of.” As I read those words, my mind said, “Whoa! That is deep, and deeply true!” It touched me, and really made me think about how I want to walk into the new year. How can we walk with God in the coming year? We only need to follow Christ with every part of our being. If we are following Christ in all of our actions, thoughts, and ways, we can’t help but stay on the right path. And we must ask Christ to walk before us and with us through each and every day of life. As you make your new year’s resolution this year, are you resolving to walk with God?
I can’t help but think of the men walking to Emmaus after the crucifixion of Christ. “He asked them, “What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?” They stopped short, sadness written across their faces. Then one of them, Cleopas, replied, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.” “What things?” Jesus asked. “The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said. “He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people. But our leading priests and other religious leaders handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him. We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago.” (Luke 24:17-21) Do you remember the story? Two friends were walking along and sadly discussing the events. They must have been so distressed. They thought that Jesus was the Messiah. They thought that He had come to rescue them, but He was crucified. They thought that this was the end of the story. They thought that their Savior was gone. They had no idea that they were walking side by side with the Messiah.
Jesus spoke with them and took them through the scriptures explaining things concerning himself, but they could not see that it was Jesus himself walking with them. Finally, as they arrived home, it was getting late and they invited Jesus to have dinner with them. He then revealed Himself to the men. “As they sat down to eat, he took the bread and blessed it. Then he broke it and gave it to them. Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And at that moment he disappeared! They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?” And within the hour they were on their way back to Jerusalem. There they found the eleven disciples and the others who had gathered with them, who said, “The Lord has really risen! He appeared to Peter.” (Luke 24:30-34)
The men had absolutely no idea that they were walking right along side of Christ the King! As we enter this new year, we remember the chaos of the past year. We recall the tragedies. We think about the heartaches. We remember the struggles. We talk about these things until we are blue in the face. We share our grief, anguish, and unrest with those around us. We try to handle everything on our own. We may even want to wallow in our own little pity party for a while. We may feel alone, isolated. Yes, this past year has been difficult, but there is great news! We do not have to walk into the unknown of the coming year alone! Christ cares about our troubles. He cares about our lives even down to the most minute detail. He wants to walk with you as you begin writing the pages of the book of the coming year. Just as He chose to walk with the two men on their way to Emmaus, Jesus chooses to walk with us too! And just as they asked Him to stay a little longer, we can ask too!
Yes, we have started a new year, a new book. We have no idea what will happen this year, but Jesus already does! He knows exactly how to prepare us for the things to come. He goes before you, and He walks with you! Let’s commit to walk with Christ this year!