Happy New Year Rock Church! With every New Year comes the opportunity for us to look at the past 365 days in retrospect and, more importantly, forge the coming year with a fresh outlook by resolving to do a myriad of things different.
We'll lose weight, eat healthier, act kinder, volunteer more, drive in our own lane, pray more often .that others will drive in their own lanes. We set goals to improve our part in God's grand scheme. But days, sometimes hours into the new year, we fall flat on our faces and trade these well-thought out resolutions for our old way of living because we set our sights on ourselves and not on Him. Our walk with Christ should be the focal point of each new day, let alone each new year.
Here are three questions to be pondered when making the resolution to live more for Him in 2006.
1. Where are you now?
In 2 Corinthians 13:5 Paul writes, Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? - unless indeed you are disqualified.
We begin by establishing our standing with God. We take an inventory of our faith.
Do I believe He died for me; that in His shed blood, my sins are forgiven? Am I willing to surrender myself to Him in complete faith?
In a relationship with Jesus, we come empty-handed and full of sin. There are no bargaining chips. We, then, give our lives over to Him and begin to live as He lived in all our affairs all the time. This is a taller order than losing a couple of pounds, but the benefits of living in eternity with Christ far outweigh a flat stomach in hell..
2. Where are you going?
Tomorrow, I'll get up and head off to work where I'll daydream a three-day vacation in Moab, Utah kayaking on the Green River. Then I'll call my friend tomorrow and tell her Gilmore Girls has been cancelled AGAIN, which she never believes anyway and then plan a Groundhog's Day shindig for my small group and POOF!
Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit;" whereas, you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that." James 4:13-15
Not to say a little planning is a bad thing, but our eyes need to be fixed on Him; on His will. We set goals that will reflect His will, not our own. Our highest calling is to glorify God and be holy, or "set apart" for Him. Once we've accepted Jesus into our lives, we are changed. We begin to live like Him, which is the will of God: to be like His beloved Son.
Micah 6:8 says, He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?
If cutting a pint of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough from the nightly menu sounds life altering enough; how much more will our lives benefit if we do the right thing all the time with compassion and forgiveness towards others while humbly walking with our Father. Through prayer and reading of the Word, it is all attainable. Besides, scripture reading with ice cream work better than chocolate and peanut butter.
3. How will you get there?
If nothing changes...nothing changes.
Start now, or strive harder, to move towards God and away from the desires of the world.
We change by building our foundation of life from here on out through the daily reading of the Word, which is " able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:15-17
Through the reading of the Word, we are transformed changed more and more into the likeness of Jesus. We become wiser, kinder, more understanding of our situations and of others. We become "set apart" for His purpose. We turn towards God and away from our sin. There will be stumbling, but even better there'll be His hand to pick you up.
Proverbs 4:25-27 says, Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you. Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established. Do not turn to the right or the left; remove your foot from evil.