Wednesday, January 3, 2018
Shepastor: "What is Your New Life Resolution?"
Every year between December 31st and January 1st, people make all kind of promises to themselves and to others. We call these promises – “resolutions.” This term comes from the root word, “resolute,” meaning to be resolved, determined, undaunted, tenacious, unwavering.” New Year resolutions are born out of the idea that the old year for better or for worse is gone and is not coming back – so in the new year, we hope to do somethings better, or at least differently.
You’ve heard them, “I’m going to lose weight…, I’m going to stop cursing…, I’m going to stop smoking…, I’m going to save more money…, I’m going to stop using credit cards…” The list goes on and on. Today, I’d like to challenge us not to think about making meaningless promises that most times we fail to keep. I’d like to challenge you to prayerfully consider making a “New Life Resolution.”
How “resolute” are you when it comes to living a transformed life? Do you have a “fixed” mindset or a “growth mindset.” For some, they accepted Christ as a child and have been going to church ever since. But no real or true transformation has ever happened in their lives. They are “fixed.” They are not concerned about growth. They are not concerned about transformation. They are content to remain as they are.
There is a difference between changing a habit and changing your life. Even dieticians and physicians have come to the conclusion that if you really want to lose weight, you can’t just create a list of things you determine that you will give up. Human nature dictates that after a while, the feeling of self -deprivation will take over and you will return to old habits of eating things you shouldn’t. Therefore, they say, a life change – in other words, a change of thought, a change of heart, a change of resolve has to take place in order for real results to happen and be long term.
So it is with our spiritual walk with Christ. Being a Christian is more than giving up the seven deadly sins…Lust, envy, gluttony, sloth, greed, anger and pride. Some stricter traditions have added a few more…drinking, smoking, playing cards, dancing, popping fingers, wearing makeup and going out to parties!
The problem with both lists is that those efforts may control some external behaviors, but the human will can never change the human heart. In order to truly change, a spiritual transformation has to take place. This is not some mystical, secretive process whereby a person has to say chants or drink a potion or have a witch doctor shake some special formula with smoke over your head. No no! Holy Ghost transformation – the kind of transformation that changes your life happens when you have an encounter with God.
Yes, even those who minister and preach the Gospel need to have transforming experiences – fresh encounters with God.
In 2018, don’t let the demons of fear, of worry, of self-doubt, of low self-esteem, of old belittling voices in your head, of resentment, anger, hostility and yes even hatred – don’t let those demons keep you shackled. As you enter 2018 let it go. Don’t be like the children of Israel who wandered in the wilderness for forty years because they kept looking back and couldn’t believe God for what they could not see. Step out on faith –ask the Lord to reveal his will and purpose for your life and then pursue it.
Pastor and author Bill Hybel says,
“You will never take big hills without making bold moves”
Letting go of what has held you back, held you down, kept you imprisoned is not always easy – it takes the bold move of faith to let it go, trust God, resolve to live for Him in every way. It’s a new path, a fresh encounter, a prayerful journey, a new way of living. Be bold and walk with your head held high, press towards the mark that God has ordained for your life.
May you and yours have a “growth filled,” joyous, peaceful and “forward moving” New Year!
Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,