Planted & Pursuing: Encouragement for the New Year
For the one praying, hoping, or anticipating that 2022 will be a year of growth, change, or fruitfulness, may I encourage you to consider two questions: where are you planted and what are you pursuing?
“Oh the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank (by streams of water), bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.” (Psalm 1:1-3)
Planted [verb] - to place in the ground to grow; to place or fix in a certain position
The tree planted by streams of water will have a constant supply of the source of its life; it was placed in a purposeful position.
So it is with the one who delights in the Word, purposefully meditating upon it and abiding in the One who was the Word made flesh.
And it is through this vital, never-ending supply and connection to Life Himself that we find our true life, our best life, and where our God-intended life truly begins and is sustained. A life of growth. One of fruitfulness. One that flourishes. Not simply outwardly for the world to see, but more importantly inwardly, at times known only between God and daughter.
Yes, friends, where you are planted matters.
Perhaps there is no better question for us to consider this new year than to ask where we are planted and to make the words of F.B. Meyer our prayer:
“…learn to feed on God. Withdraw your rootlets from men and things, and let them travel to the river of God, which is full of water. Close other doors, and open those that lead out on to the terrace, whence you may behold the far-spread landscape of what He is, and says, and is willing to be to us all."
And perhaps the next most important question, after considering where we are planted, is to ask what are we pursuing.
This time of year, many are pursuing new goals and desiring to form new habits, whether in the form of a “New Year’s resolution” or just a hopeful change of lifestyle. But did you know that one of the earliest definitions of “resolution” is taken from a Latin word meaning “a process of reducing things into simpler forms”?
Over the centuries, the word’s usage and meaning has changed and evolved. But if we consider that early definition, we may very well get to the heart of what we truly desire in its “simplest form,” the greatest “resolution” for 2022 and beyond: to echo the highest desire of David’s heart, reduced into one simple request. What was that one thing he desired? “One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.” (Psalm 27:4)
Maybe we, too, could use a little simplifying as we contemplate all that is in front of us this year in terms of our pursuits. It is so often through the faithful pursuit of God that the newness we long for occurs. Yes, as we recognize it is God who works within us, both to will and to do for His good pleasure, we learn it is through the faithful reading of His Word, the faithful steps of obedience, and faithfully being yielded to His Spirit that lead to the newness we long for this time of year: newness of mind, newness of heart, and new steps forward into the plans and purposes He has for us.
A.W. Tozer said, “O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, that so I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, ‘Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.’ Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee.”
Don’t we, too, long to be filled with longing and long for those we love to be filled with longing; to pursue and seek Him above all other pursuits, however noble they may be?
If so and if your New Year’s “resolutions” have already taken the back seat or are no longer making your to-do list, no need to fret or grow discouraged! Remember to consider where you are planted and what (Who) you are pursuing. It is here, planted in the Word, drinking deeply of the Living Water, with all your desires and longings simplified into the pursuit of your Savior, that you will experience the growth, change, and fruitfulness you most deeply desire for this coming year.
God bless you and we look forward to seeing you soon as we resume Women’s Bible study on Tuesday, January 18. (For more information or to newly join and register, please visit the Women’s Ministry website by clicking here.)
With much love in Him,