New Years resolutions are funny things. This year my resolutions are pretty common. They focus on eating less and exercising more. Other years my resolutions have been about staying in touch with friends and visiting family more often. Although, calling my mom and joining an exercise class are good plans for any year, maybe the plans I make are not necessarily the ones God has in store for me.
Look at Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father. Imagine him making New Years resolutions the year before Jesus was born. There he was a typical small town Jewish carpenter engaged to be married with great plans for his life. Maybe Joseph’s New Years Resolutions looked like this:
Joseph’s New Years Resolutions
- Set aside some money for the future.
- Begin new addition to the house to expand carpentry business and to make room for Mary.
- Volunteer for more leadership roles at the synagogue.
These might have been Joseph’s plans for the New Year but let’s look at a list of God’s plans for Joseph that year:
God’s Plans for Joseph
- Despite the shame and the ridicule, marry your pregnant fiancé.
- Take your VERY pregnant wife to Bethlehem to give birth to the Savior of the world.
- Rush off to Egypt to escape the insane and ruthless King Herod trying to kill your child.
If you think about it, God’s plans for Joseph look more like a list of things Joseph never planned to do than things he wanted to do. Surely a righteous man like Joseph never planned to marry a pregnant girl nor take his VERY pregnant wife on a road trip to Bethlehem. And I hardly think a carpenter from Nazareth planned to relocate to Egypt. It could not have been easy for Joseph to accept such drastic changes in his plans to make room for God’s plans. After all, God had to send angels, dreams and some wise men to steer Joseph away from his plans and on to God’s plans.
What about you? Is there room in your life for God to over ride your plans? What if God’s plans involved you being inconvenienced or even sacrificial? Surely Joseph had not planned to leave his family, his home and his business but this was God’s plan. What if God’s plan for you involved embarrassment, conflict or overcoming fears? Think of what Joseph’s neighbors said when he married Mary or how frightened he must have been when they fled to Egypt. Following God’s plans for our lives is not always easy but it’s always fulfilling.
So this New Years, make plans for your future but leave room for God to breathe His plans into your life. After all, that’s what makes being a Christian so exciting! You never know what God has planned for you next! So I pray that the coming year brings you many wonderful and unexpected plans from the Lord. Let me know how God surprises you!