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I Resolve to…

December 31, 2011

     It is time for the New Year.  I haven’t even processed Christmas yet, but time marches on and while I’m still just trying to get gift boxes put away, I need to make plans for the entire next year.

     Each year we are all faced with the tradition of making resolutions.  I don’t know how many people actually sit down and make a list.  I think many people no longer even believe that the resolutions they make can be achieved.  Most people make resolutions to eat better, exercise more and to lose weight.  Many people make a good go of it but by February their determination is waning and old habits are pushing their way back in. 

     I do not want to discourage anyone from attempting to improve their lives.  I actually think it is a good idea to take some time at the end of the year and evaluate the past year.  There is actually quite a lot to think about.  Did you have any resolutions or goals at the beginning of this past year?  Did you have a plan of action to achieve those goals or did you just resolve yourself to change without a plan on how to do it?

     Many of us fail when we make resolutions because there is no plan in place to follow through.  We falsely think that a firm resolve and some determination alone will see us through.  Good intensions are only the beginning.  When creating a list of goals that we desire it is important that we also create a plan on how to accomplish those goals.  My father is an expert on this.  He and many others offer books and seminars on how to write goals and create a plan to accomplish them.  What I want to accomplish today is not necessarily to tell you how but to tell you why and possibly what.

     Why?  Why should you evaluate the past and make goals for the future?  A life without goals or at least some direction and purpose is like a ship without a rudder; it just floats along wherever the current takes it, likewise a life without direction or minimal goals floats along directed by life’s circumstances.  Our circumstances are not what should direct our lives.  The Word of God is our compass.  It tells us the truth of who we are, how we should live and the thoughts that we should think.  Our circumstances are the life created by the flow of the world and sometimes even Satan.  We should control our circumstances and not the other way around.

     Why should we evaluate the past?  You should all know the famous saying, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”  This applies to our history also.  Where did we struggle last year?  Is our eating an issue?  Do we lack time to exercise?  Did we give in to our own weaknesses of pride, jealousy, conceit, anger, bitterness or wrath?  Without a little self evaluation and a plan to correct wrong attitudes and behaviors we may very well repeat them again this coming year.  I want to caution you here.  I believe in healthy self evaluation.  Sometimes our evaluation will lead to repentance.  This is good.  Evaluation that leads to self loathing and condemnation is not good or productive.  Do not let the enemy beat you over the head because you failed.  Even if you failed for the 100th time, instead, repent and ask the Lord to show you the flaws in your execution.  Why did you fail?  Remember my last blog about Monopoly?  Let’s get out of jail with some growth.

     What?  What things should you set goals for?  It is a good idea to set goals for the basics in life like diet and exercise.  Those are the ones we all seem to struggle with.  My father suggests you set goals for all the different areas of your life; physical, mental, financial.  These are all areas that should be addressed but above all these are our spiritual goals.  Yes, we should set spiritual goals because the core of who we are is spiritual.  All other areas of our lives fall under this category.  The goal of self discipline in the area of eating is met best through the gift of the Holy Spirit – self control.  The goals for our finances are met best through the principles of tithing, giving and financial faithfulness.  As we submit to God, walk in His ways and become conformed to His image, we are able to achieve the goals in all the other areas of our lives.  It is God who enables us and gives us the power and ability to make the changes we so desperately want in our lives.  Without Him we can achieve some goals.  But with Him we can change for good and be transformed.  I vote for the latter.

     So what goals do we set for our spiritual lives?  We all seem to resolve each year to read the Bible more and pray more.  If year after year you seem to fail in this endeavor I have an interesting suggestion.  Instead of seeking to be nearer to God BY Bible study and prayer, switch that around and seek to be nearer to God and more Bible study and prayer will be the result.  Maybe we’ve had the cart before the horse.  It is something to ponder on.

     Our primary goal each year should be to love the Lord our God with ALL our hearts, ALL our souls, ALL our minds and ALL our strength, then love our neighbors.  ALL is an amazing word of completeness.  Spend some time just pondering the word ALL.  It is quite awesome.  How do we love God with ALL our hearts?  That is your assignment.  Ask the Lord to reveal to you what that means for YOU. 

     This year should also be year of loving others more.  My husband believes our most frequent sin is not lying or stealing but our greatest sin is our lack of love for our neighbors.

     What is stirring in your heart?  What resolve is just waiting to burst forth?  What goals and plans will you make?  Whatever they may be, take them to the Lord.  He will lead you, guide you and enable you.  Do not enter 2012 aimless and directionless; choose instead to be an arrow in the hand of our God aimed toward the bull’s-eye of THE target.

 

I wish each of you a wonderful New Year.  May you be blessed this year.  May you find true joy, happiness and fullfillment and may you know our Lord Jesus Christ more fully every day of the year.

 

 

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