Are you ready to step boldly into 2023? To take some new initiatives in response to the Holy Spirit? To respond with active obedience to the purposes of God this year?
I realize those questions may be a little more enthusiastic than what you might feel at this moment. (I understand fully. In some ways, I’m preaching to myself—coming off of a fair amount of weariness and depletion after a challenging 2022.) Even so, we live in exciting times, and the Lord has called us to do exploits in this significant time of history.
What should our posture be for 2023? Three words: DON’T HOLD BACK!
“Be All There”
An event on January 8, 1956 changed the perspective of Christians all around the world. News of the slaying and martyrdom in Ecuador of five young missionaries—Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Pete Fleming, Ed McCully, and Roger Youderian—confronted Christians everywhere with the reality of giving our lives for the sake of the Gospel.
Early in my Christian life, I read the story of how these young men had risked their lives to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the aggressive and murderous Auca tribe in the jungles of Ecuador. On the shore of the Curaray River, these young men were savagely martyred by the people they were trying to touch with the love of Jesus.
They lost their lives in one sacrificial act. They gave it all: they did not hold back.
Soon after I gave my heart to Jesus, I began to quote the writings of one of those young men: Jim Elliot. One of my favorite quotes from his diaries is this one: “Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.”
What is Jim saying to us, now in the 67th year after his death? Don’t hold back!
“Cry Out and Shout”
The theme for this letter started developing in my heart recently after a simple reading of a very familiar passage of Scripture: Isaiah 12:6: “Cry out and shout, O inhabitant of Zion.” As I was contemplating the coming year and what my attitude needed to be as I stepped into it, I felt a twinge of conviction reading this verse.
At times, I can be a little too “laid-back” in my attitude. I can remain steady and calm, not getting too riled up about any particular event or situation. Sometimes, such a response can be a good thing. But when it comes to the matter of spiritual receptivity and ready obedience to Jesus, it’s all wrong. He would say to us: “Don’t hold back.”
“Cry out and shout”—not necessarily a tepid response. It is lively and animated. We see the “why” and the “wherefore” for shouting in the next phrase: “For great is the Holy One of Israel in your midst!” That is more than enough reason to not hold back!
The Pattern for Us
My growing sense of conviction that the Lord is looking for a determined, intentional response was soon punctuated by a message from Derek Prince. It is a frequent feature of our regular DPM staff meetings to view together a video teaching by Derek. A recent selection was one of his early video sermons (from 1971) originally titled “Fasting Precipitates God’s Latter Rain”—a message from his series on the topic of Praying to Change History, now with a new title: “The Doorway to Restoration.”
One of the points Derek makes in his teaching extends from an examination of the lives of Bible heroes and leaders like Daniel and others. The emphasis is that when we see God on the move, fulfilling His promises in renewed activity, it is not the time for us to sit back and relax. Instead, it is our cue to engage. It is God saying, “Don’t hold back.”
Daniel did not adopt the attitude, “Well, God’s going to restore us. Isn’t that wonderful? I guess we’ll soon be back!” He [Daniel] saw what God was seeking to do—he saw what God had committed Himself to do—and he said, “God, I’m in this with You. Count me in! I’ll give myself to prayer and fasting as I never have done before until I see the fulfillment of Your promise in experience.”
That is the pattern for us….When we see God beginning to move, we should react like Daniel—set our face with prayer and fasting for the fulfillment of what God has shown He wishes to do.
God’s promise is not an excuse for inactivity; it is a provocation to prayer.
Can you and I offer a ready and willing response to what Derek has just shared? Perhaps it could be our best way to welcome 2023. In our prayer, let’s mirror the attitude Daniel exhibited in his response: “God, I am in this year with You. Count me in!” Can we unite in a prayer right now to let the Lord know we do not intend to hold back?
Dear Lord, I want to step up to the challenge of this new year, realizing it will be filled with opportunities to serve You and to see You at work. Here is my declaration right now for all of 2023: I will not hold back!
I will sharpen my attention to see You at work and to hear Your voice as it guides me. When I see You on the move in the months ahead, I will set my face to step boldly into Your purposes, completely offering myself to You for use as a willing and obedient servant in the purposes of God.
What’s more, I will not respond to You in half measures. I will cry out and shout, for You are great in our midst, oh Lord! I will give my all.
I am all Yours this year. I will follow You and not hold back. Amen.
It is entirely fitting that you and I take the step we have just taken. Truly, we are living in momentous times. The Lord could have seen fit for us to have been alive in the 17th century. Instead, He has called us—like Esther—“for such a time as this.”
Our desire at Derek Prince Ministries is to partner with you in the calling of God upon your life. People often ask if Derek directed most of his teaching toward pastors and leaders in the Body of Christ. Certainly, his lessons are weighty and meaty enough to be training instruments for Church leaders, and indeed are being used to educate pastors in areas where there is a lack of solid Bible training, such as in India, Iran, Sudan, and other parts of Africa. However, Derek’s real penchant was to provide teaching for ordinary lay persons and believers like you and me. His overriding desire was “for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry” (Ephesians 4:12). Derek taught with you and me in mind—and we want to get his lessons into your hands.
In that regard, we want to offer you a free MP3 of “The Doorway to Restoration,” the teaching from which we took Derek’s quote. Simply use the link below. Let me warn you in advance: it is a compelling message, dealing with serious topics like earnest fasting and prayer for the purposes of God to be fulfilled. Please receive it with our deepest thanks for your prayers and contributions to this ministry. We simply could not do this without you.
With All Our Heart
I want to mention one more phrase that parallels the topic of not holding back.
Here it is: with all your heart. This is a concept that appears all throughout Scripture, and it always has a connotation of unreserved obedience to the Lord. In addition, the phrase always seems to be attached to a promise and a reward. In other words, whenever this is our approach to the Lord, great benefits come as a result.
One of my favorite occurrences of this phrase is in Jeremiah 29:13–14: “And you will seek Me and find Me when you search for me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the LORD.” The Lord promises to listen to us and allow us to find Him when we make it our aim to pursue Him with all our heart. In other words: don’t hold back!
The New Testament version of this thought comes from Colossians 3:23 (NIV), in this advice from Paul: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord….” Those are very important words for us in this new year: with all your heart.
Why should you and I settle for any other response in 2023? Don’t hold back!
All the Best
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