Welcome to “Java for Life.” I am your online barista. Allow me to fix you a devotional drink about the Christian life. Today’s cup is an Almond Latte about our future as we await the coming of a new year.
As believers, we know that God has a plan for our lives. In fact, that has been the slogan of these java devotions, that God has a greater purpose for our lives. And that will certainly hold true in the coming year for you.
But this devotion is more than a reminder of that great truth. Actually, this is more about our response to the great truth that God is involved in our future. That our response is far more than a simple acknowledgement. In fact, it’s far more than a confession of the doctrine that God is sovereign. It’s even more than finding comfort that God is in our lives. It’s so much more as we confirm that we should actually respond to His plans for our lives.
And by confirming this, we are resisting any proposal that we should just be passive and wait for God’s unfolding plan as if God’s activity requires our passivity. To the contrary, His active work in our lives is actually a call to action for us.
Take, for example, the simple illustration of crossing the street. We believe that God’s greater plan involves protecting us from danger. But our response should still be to look both ways before we cross the intersection. And so, this intersection is a really an interplay of God’s plan for us and our response to it.
Now consider this example from the Scriptures where the Apostle Paul was very much aware of such an intersection between God’s plan for him and his active response. You [and your small group] can read the story in Acts 27. There, Paul is a prisoner on a boat sailing for Rome where he must stand before Caesar. This Mediterranean voyage becomes dangerous as a hurricane begins to punish the boat for 14 days. Verse 20 describes it as a dark time when they saw neither the sun nor the stars as dark blankets of waves covered them.
The ship is breaking. The men are so distressed that they stopped eating and were sitting and waiting for the hurricane to take them to their watery graves. But Paul stands and gives a word of encouragement and challenge. Based on a revelation that God had given him through an angel, Paul declares that God will spare their lives.
But this deliverance would not come without a proper response from the men in the boat. They would have to work hard together to save the ship. But to make matters more complicated, some sailors choose to abandon ship by taking the lifeboat.
Paul sees their escape plans and goes right to the centurion in charge and says in vs.31 “Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved.” This has now become a dangerous intersection between God’s plan for them and their response to it. And in response to Paul’s insistence, the soldiers cut the lifeboat and let it adrift to force the men to stay onboard and work together.
This dramatic example represents the intersections of our lives. It should represent the intersection between this year and the coming new year. If you’re meeting a small group or sitting by yourself, answer the following questions: How do you see the intersection between God’s plan for you and your decisions? How do you see God working in your life? What are your plans for the new year? What is God’s plan for your family? Where is God leading your church? What should your response to it?
As this year comes to a close and a new year begins to open, we are standing at an important intersection for our nation, our community, our church, our families, and our lives. God’s plans should actually become a call to action for you.
So, to all the java readers, happy new year to you! May God’s greater purpose for your life be realized on earth as it is in heaven. And may He give you the faith and conviction to respond to that greater purpose for your life.