When you start a New Year, whom you greet and start that new year with is important. How you start can also determine how you finish. Goethe said, “Once you have missed the first buttonhole you’ll never manage to button up.” It is a short maxim but it is wisdom that comes from the experiences of a long life. Whatever you do, it is important to start well. Your starting position is important. Therefore, greet the New Year with God. Start the New Year’s journey with God. We are like pilgrims leaving home. What is important when you go on the pilgrim’s journey is to meet an excellent guide. Anyone who challenges himself to conquer the Mt. Everest never climbs a high mountain alone. He climbs the high mountain with a guide. This is the same for those who travel in the desert. You need help from a guide who knows the desert well. The same is true for our spiritual lives. We should not do spiritual discipline alone. We must meet a mature spiritual guide. We need various guides in our lives, but God is the most excellent guide.
God looks through our whole life and guides us in the best way. God is the one who sees far ahead from on high. He is the one who makes all things work together for good. (Rom. 8:28) God knows what we need rather than what we want. God gives us not only what we want, but He knows what is most suitable for us and gives us that. God is Alpha and Omega. He is the beginning and the end (Rev. 1:17).
God is leading us ahead. (John 10:4) God is not the one driving us from behind. God is the one who makes a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, when it is needed, while He is leading us ahead. (Isa. 43:19). God sees what we cannot see and solves problems that we cannot solve. We will never fail if we walk with God. When we walk with God, we are safe. When we walk with God, we can overcome any obstacles that we face. God wants to lead us. The problem is that we refuse to be led by God. God is much more discerning than us, and He is wiser than we are. God’s wisdom is deep, and His understanding is endless. Therefore, do not lean on your own understanding, but acknowledge God in all things. Receive God’s guidance. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Prov. 3:5-6) How, then, does God lead us?
First, God leads us through the Word. Read the Word of God every day. Seek God’s guidance whenever you read the Word. The Word of God is a lamp to our feet, and a light to our path. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Ps. 119:105) God leads us through the Word day by day. The word of God shows just the way to walk ahead like a lamp to our feet. Like a light to the path, it illuminates the path ahead. Do not try to know too much. Do not try to be aware of everything. God, knowing everything about us, guides us through His Word day by day. God put the various wisdom in the His Word. All Scripture is full of wisdom. Particularly Proverbs and Psalms of the O.T. and the Sermon on the Mount and James in the N.T. are filled with the holy wisdom. Receive the guidance of God followed by the word of wisdom given to you as you meditate on the Word day by day through quiet times with God.
Second, God leads us through the Holy Spirit. Invite the Holy Spirit day by day. Meditate on the Word with the Holy Spirit each day. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of wisdom and understanding. The Holy Spirit is the spirit of counsel and might. The Spirit is the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD (Isa. 11: 2). As soon as we receive Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes into us and abides in us for eternity. Because the Holy Spirit is a person, when we welcome, invite, and rely on Him, He guides us in good ways. The Holy Spirit guides us into the truth when we meditate on the Word (John 16:13). When we meditate on the Word, the Holy Spirit shows us the glory of Jesus, the protagonist of the Word (John 16:14). The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of revelation (Eph. 1:17). When we meditate on the Word, the Holy Spirit makes us realize the Word by revealing the hidden mystery of God.
A New Year has begun. Begin the New Year with the Holy Triune God. Receive the guidance of God day by day from God, His word, and the Holy Spirit. May the blessings of God be abundant on you, the saints, who greet the promising New Year.
Reverend Joshua Choon-Min Kang is the senior pastor of New Life Vision Church, located in Los Angeles. This is one of the weekly letters he writes to his congregation. For the original, visit www.nlvc.org.