By Gisela YohannanDo you have any specific prayer requests and expectations for this year? I am not talking about a “wish list” of material things or ambitions you might have for your life, family and ministry. Neither do I mean the plans you made for your work . . .
What I want you to consider is your spiritual life: the depth of your personal walk with the Lord, your growth as a Christian, the progress you have made toward developing a Christlike character and, most of all, how real your relationship is with Jesus—if the things you proclaim can be seen in your life.
Our time here on earth is so limited, and the years we have to serve our God are so few, that it would be tragic if we let them pass by carelessly and simply live each day without being conscious of our purpose.
It takes God many years to train us and make us useful. The quality and depth of work we will be able to accomplish largely depends on the quality and depth God is able to work into our personal life and character.
Why should we have expectations for our life as a child of God? Because God does! I believe that when He looks at each one of us, He sees not only our potential through Christ but also the finished result, and He longs to bring us there.
When Pharaoh’s daughter opened the basket she found in the river, she saw a little Hebrew baby crying. But when God looked into that same basket He saw Moses, the deliverer of Israel.
When the inhabitants of Bethlehem watched David taking care of his father’s sheep, they only saw a shepherd boy. But when God looked at him in the field tending his flock, He saw a king.
When people watched Peter following Jesus, they saw an uneducated fisherman. But Jesus saw a mighty apostle, filled with the Holy Spirit, leading His Church.
The highest expectation that God has for each of us surpasses that of a deliverer, a king or an apostle. He wants us to become like Jesus (Ephesians 4:13).
We need to agree with God and, with all humility, share His expectations for our lives. So often we have little or no expectations at all because we cannot see beyond our own small world and circumstances.
But even if all these things were true, they are no hindrance for God to fulfill all He has in mind for your life. But He needs two things from your side: your cooperation and your faith! Remember, when Jesus touched the blind men’s eyes, He said, “Be it done to you according to your faith” (Matthew 9:29).
At least once each year, we should take a serious look at our spiritual life, keeping God’s expectations in mind. How do we know if we came a little closer to God’s goal during the past 12 months? Look for signs like these:
- My tongue has become more hesitant to speak out, spread rumors and judge others.
- I find myself more often praying and doing something about the needs of others than my own.
- My conscience seems to speak louder and alert me faster to confess sin, forgive others and stay away from things that I would not have recognized as dangers to my spiritual life six months ago.
- . . . I have become increasingly able to draw strength from the Lord on my own.
Evaluations like these don’t make us more spiritual, but I have found that they are very helpful in determining what I should pray and believe for, search out in God’s Word, work on and pursue for victory.
Since it is still the beginning of the year, I suggest that you take a little time off and learn where you are in your walk with the Lord. Think of several areas where you struggle the most, and make them your specific prayer requests for this year. Expect that God will change you, and it will happen according to your faith.
Excerpted from Dear Sister by Gisela Yohannan. Copyright © 2006 by Gisela Yohannan. (Carrollton, TX: GFA Books). The book Dear Sister is a collection of letters written by Gisela Yohannan to those serving the Lord on the mission field and around the world. Each letter represents a part of her own journey with the Lord and a lesson He taught her in her own life.
Gisela Yohannan serves the Lord along with her husband, Dr. KP Yohannan Metropolitan, who is the founder and director of Gospel for Asia. She is the author of four well-known books: Broken for a Purpose, Consider Your Call, Dear Sister and Let Me Walk With You. Gisela’s life and commitment to the Lord are a challenge and encouragement to many.
You can download a digital version of Dear Sister and start reading it now.
To read more from Gisela Yohannan on Patheos, go here