Imperatives for Christians in 2024
By Toby Crowder
2 Chronicles 15:4 “But when they in their trouble did turn unto the LORD God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of them.”
Welcome to the New Year! If you are like me, you are still writing the date as 2023 and wondering where the last year has gone. For some, the New Year is time for a “fresh start,” and can also serve as a time to ponder the past year and progress in our churches. It is a joy to know that God has always used His people to help accomplish His plans that God still has a plan for this world of ours, and that He has a part for you to fulfill while serving in your local church body! You have a part in the future of His church… In its success…. Or its failure.
This time of year, most people will make some sort of “resolution” either publicly or privately. To resolve means “to make a decision or to solve a difficulty.” We often think about resolutions or things that we can intentionally improve including our weight, our finances, or our social calendar. Rather than focus on a resolution, which we may or may not keep, (remember that unused gym membership from 2021?) I would like to offer to you some “imperatives” that I believe are critical to our church bodies. By using the word “imperative,” we need to think about vitally important things; they are not just suggestions but are absolutely necessary. The word imperative means: critical, crucial, or essential. Humanly speaking, some imperatives for us are food… water… physical activity… etc. These are not only suggestions, but they are considered critical to our health and well-being, and without them, our bodies will eventually not be able to function and perform as they were designed to do.
May I recommend to your reading 2 Chronicles 15 and the example set forth by Asa. We learn in v. 3-4 above that they had been outside the will of God for some time, and in their distress, they returned to God after a period of decline. Without some particularly significant changes, they would be unable to serve and follow God as they should. The Bible is as relevant to our lives today as it was when it was written, and we can still apply these principles to our lives and churches in the coming New Year and see God move among His people.
Firstly, there was a RETURN of God’s people to Him. Verse four tells us that they turned to God and sought Him. Friend, that is a plan that has always worked! When we turn to God and seek Him, that is the first step in giving Him the place that He deserves in our lives and our churches. Before God will send revival and heal our homes, our churches, and our land, there must first and foremost be a return to God of His people. If we want to make the most of 2024, we must follow the example of Asa and realize as God’s people, that whatever we strive to do…. We need Him!
Secondly, there must be a REMOVAL from our lives of all the things that do not honor God. If you read v.8 of this chapter, you will find out that Asa “put away” all of the abominable idols of the land and made a conscious decision that they would only honor and serve the one true and living God. For Asa and the people, it was the idols and the high places that induced them to follow other gods. We only need to take a quick look at our society today to see that there are many “idols” that come between us and the service of God.
Lastly, in v. 8, we see that they “renewed the altar of the Lord.” If you continue to read this entire chapter, you will find that they renewed several things including an offering, their covenant, their worship, their praise, and the list goes on. True sweeping change is what will happen when revival comes, and revival comes when we make a conscious decision to RETURN to the Lord. This return is imperative for God’s people in 2024! I pray that God blesses you, your family, and your church in this New Year.
Toby Crowder serves as Pastor of Mt. Carmel Baptist Church in Spruce Pine. He and his wife Leslie have been married for 28 years and have two daughters, Emilee, and Katy. He can be contacted via the church’s website MCfamilyforChrist.org or [email protected]
You can read more from Pastor Crowder here.