Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Lay the Foundation Well

Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. (Galatians 6:8 NLT)

When we think of Daniel in the Bible, the story of the lions’ den usually comes to mind (see Daniel 6). It certainly was a heroic moment in the life of this great man of God.

And when we think of Daniel’s friends—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—our minds go to the story of the fiery furnace (see Daniel 3).

These four men were resolute in character. And the foundation for that kind of character and the kind of stand they took was laid early in their lives. As young men, they made resolutions they were able to keep when they were older.

It’s like building a house. The most important time is not when you paint the walls and decorate it. The most important time is when you lay the foundation that will support everything else that is to come.

In life, the most important time is at the beginning when the foundation is being laid. It’s there, in the time of our youth, that we set our course. We develop our habits and form our attitudes. We make decisions that affect us for the rest of our lives, such as our choice of career and whom we will marry. We sow seeds that we will reap in the years ahead.

Let’s say that early in life you got into the habit of regular prayer and Bible study. You got into the habit of regular church attendance and faithfully giving to the Lord, as well as other spiritual disciplines that you still practice to this day.

You decide the evening of your life by the morning of it. You decide the end of your life by the beginning. The stand you make today will determine what kind of stand you will make tomorrow. It isn’t some mystical thing that you have nothing to say about.

You decide what principles you will live by and what road you will take, because every day you make decisions as to whether you will sow to the flesh or sow to the Spirit.

The Bible tells us to lay the foundation properly when we’re young. And that is what Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, and Daniel did.

Youth is a relative term. If you’re fifty, someone who is fifteen might think of you as old. But to someone who is ninety, you’re rather young. Everyone will be a year older next year. And we’re making decisions today, in January, that will play out by next Christmas.

The Bible says, “Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit” (Galatians 6:8 NLT).

It isn’t necessarily a bad thing to have habits. It’s only bad if they’re bad habits. But it’s a good thing if they’re good habits.

Maybe you’ve come through a fiery trial in the past year, or maybe you will have a fiery trial in the coming year. But know this: Jesus will walk with you through it. You will not be alone.

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