IN CHARISMATIC CHRISTIAN circles, people often look for a “word” from God to start off the new year. For me, it’s time to refocus and see more clearly. God wants us to accomplish things this year. And there are some scriptural strategies that, when we apply them, will guarantee us a great 2023.
The Apostle Paul shared one of those strategies with the Philippian church.
PHILIPPIANS 3:13-14 (NLT)
13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,
14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
FORGET THE PAST
The first strategy is, we have to forget about what’s behind, good or bad, and look forward to what lies ahead. It doesn’t matter what happened in the past. We can only change our future, not our past. While 2022 might not have been the best for some of us, we’re still here. And as long as we are, we have an opportunity to change our lives.
If we’re always looking at what’s behind us, we’ll never reach what’s ahead of us. We can’t really walk forward when we’re looking backward. Some people often mention the “good old days” when they say things were better. Those days are gone, and we should get excited about the “good new days” of 2023 that are ahead.
LEARN TO ASK
Another strategy to change our year for the better is from James 4:2, “Ye have not, because ye ask not.” To have a great 2023, we must start asking God for our needs. If we aren’t happy with what we have now or what we’re going through, we should ask Him for more. Scripture says we have not because we ask not. We must learn to ask.
Maybe we don’t need things—we need direction. Sometimes we aren’t very good at asking for directions or help. And because we don’t ask, it takes us a lot longer to get where we need to go. It’s time to start asking, “God, give me direction. I don’t want to wander in the wilderness for 40 years like Moses and the Israelites.”
Jesus also told us to ask.
JOHN 14:13-14 (NKJV)
13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.
We have to forget about what’s behind, good or bad, and look forward to what lies ahead.
Jesus promised to do whatever we ask. We are to ask what we will and it will be done. I know people who don’t ask God for something because they think they don’t deserve it. With Christ, it’s not about what we deserve. It’s about what He wants to give us. He loves us and wants the best for us.
Sometimes what we do is gripe. But griping is not asking. We say, “God, why haven’t You done this?” But He’s probably thinking, “Why haven’t you asked?” Jesus told us to go ahead and ask Him. If we practice asking as scripture says we should, it will change our year and our lives!
WRITE YOUR VISION
The Bible presents another strategy for a great year.
HABAKKUK 2:2-3 (NKJV)
2 Then the Lord answered me and said: “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it.
3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.”
If we desire something, we should write it down. That’s how we make our vision plain. Whatever we wish to see ourselves accomplish in 2023 and beyond needs to be written down. Many people don’t see beyond the year in front of them. However, God doesn’t have just a one-year plan for us. He has a plan for our entire lives. That’s why we need to put our vision in front of us.
I heard a gentleman say that he doesn’t know of any head of a large corporation who doesn’t have a vision board. He said we should not only have a vision board, we should also make it the screensaver on our computers and mobile devices. Our vision isn’t really a vision if we can’t see it. When a vision isn’t in front of us, we forget about it. Vision must be written down. Nobody will ever be a visionary if they don’t write things down.
TELL PEOPLE ABOUT JESUS
Some people only have financial goals. We should have these, but our goals should be more than money. God’s vision is about people. They’re more valuable than money. That’s why it’s more important that we bring people to church than have a lot of money. If we make a change in people’s lives, the money will come.
Our whole purpose in life as Christians is to show Jesus to people—to show them His love for them. He died for us. He took the stripes on His back for our healing. He came to give us abundant life (John 10:10).
We’re here to change the world. But we do that by changing people’s lives. There are about two billion Christians on the earth. That means there are about six billion non–Christians. We need to care more about showing them Jesus than about walking on the streets of gold in Heaven. If they start seeing God at work, they’ll want to change.
I’m excited about this new year! God has a plan for us in 2023. Let’s forget the past, ask Him for what we need—including His vision for us—and write down what He gives us. I’m asking and writing things down. When I come to the end of this year, my life is going to be different in many ways. I hope yours will be too.
Craig W. Hagin
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