And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you shall only go up and not down, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, being careful to do them,Deuteronomy 28:13
Transitioning into a new year is always welcomed because it presents the idea of a clean slate. With January comes optimism of better things.
Really, every day is like that for the believer in Jesus because in Christ, our record is clean and our history is wiped (2 Corinthians 5:15-21). At the end of a crummy day (or year) we can be certain that as sure as the sun will rise, God’s mercies will be new in the morning (Lamentations 3:22-23), allowing us the opportunity to reboot and try again.
But how dow we make the most of our new opportunity? Very simply, we must determine to put Jesus first.
Notice the curious verse quoted above from Deuteronomy. It may strike you as odd because it describes how to be the head and not the tail in life. In context, it was given to the children of Israel as God presented them the keys to their new home in the Promised Land. It was a fresh start, so God was saying the best thing they could do with it was to live their lives in alignment with His will.
Put simply, the idea was (and still is) that if you do it God’s way, in general your life will be the better for it. Not to say that you won’t have setbacks and disappointments – you absolutely will – but there is a general guarantee that as you sow, so you will reap. If you plant goodness, that’s what you will get down the road (or vice- versa).
Jesus echoed this in his teaching to a crowd of uptight, anxious folks who were concerned about the same everyday issues that perplex most of us. This is what He said to them:
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.-Jesus, Matthew 6:33
Similar to the Deuternomy passage, Jesus underscores the importance of living in alignment with God’s will as the
best only way to truly flourish. Of course, perfection isn’t possible. We will stumble. Thankfully, we become right with God not because of our obedience, but because of Jesus’ perfect obedience on our behalf.
Yet, obedience to the Lord still matters. A sincere effort to live this day in alignment with God’s will as we best understand it is without question the best way to make the most of it. As we do so, God will get the glory He deserves and we’ll get the best outcome available. That is, we’ll be the head and not the tail.
God knows, this world has enough tails already.
It’s a new day with God. Run with it.