It’s that time again for self-assessment. Looking back on the highs and lows of the last year and the need to make changes. What have I accomplished? What do I need to work on? Where am I going? We make these grandiose decision: “I’m going to every class this next semester” “I’m going to exercise every day” “I’m going to get up everyday at 6am to pray and read my Bible”
We call these declarations: RESOLUTIONS; a firm determination; resolving to do something. course of action determined or decided on. Too many people make resolutions but end up failing. They want to altar actions without true heart change.
I’m not against goal setting; to the contrary I practice and encourage it. Here’s some practical tips for “resolutions”:
- write it down
- determine how success will be measured
- develop an accountability system
- reward yourself periodically
- don’t give up if you mess up
The problem arises when we make decisions based on own strength. “This is what: I need to do. I can do. This is how I’m going to do it.
In God’s Kingdom, anything of eternal value isn’t achievable on our own. We need God’s divine help to change, advance, and succeed. Even the noblest of causes, things that would honor God, if sought with the wrong motives, will lead to failure. The Bible is full of stories depicting the fate of those who tried to do it their own way. Throughout the entire history of God’s people, there were successes and victories but they didn’t always bring about true reform and heart renewal. Despite God’s warnings, they chose to do it themselves. If we want to position ourselves for success, we need an attitude of helplessness, surrender, a desire to grow, mature, and be changed. Internal change must happen before true, lasting external change will be evident.
The Bible doesn’t encourage resolution but it does talk about EVOLUTION: a continuing process of change from one state to another; gradual development. God didn’t choose the perfect but those who were progressing. Abraham “did not waver through unbelief… but was strengthened in his faith. God declared him to be righteous” (Rom. 4:21-22). He still had much to learn and had to develop faith. This requires patience and death to the microwave mentality (I need it now!)
The Bible also talks about REVOLUTION: a sudden or momentous change in a situation. a drastic and far-reaching change in ways of thinking and behaving; a total or radical change, the overthrow of one ruler replaced with another.
Some were chosen because of who they would become but sometimes they were the most unlikely candidates. God completely turned their lives around for His glory:
- Moses – groomed in the house of Pharaoh, slow of speech and lacking in confidence became the great deliverer of Israel.
- Simon Peter – a simple, uneducated fisherman who denied Christ at the most crucial moment. Yet, he was chosen to be the first evangelist, boldly proclaiming Christ before all of Jerusalem.
- Saul – a killer of Christians who sought to destroy the Church. He was knocked off his high horse and became the great apostle to the Gentiles. In his own words: “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:13-14). Paul wrote this from a Roman jail cell. Half the time, speaking to himself.
Forgetting what is behind – God needs to overthrow our former selves, our failures, mistakes, and defeats. 2013 may have sucked. It may have kicked us, stomped on us, and ground into the dirt. But God says leave it.
Press on – He tells us to keep going! Don’t give up! In the middle of failure, frustration, fear, hurt…get up and start running again!
Toward the goal, God’s Goals – It’s not my agenda but His. His purposes, His rewards, His blessings!
God’s has called me – He got me into this, He will help me through this. “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength”(Phil. 4:13)
Believe it! God’s wants amazing things for us in this next year!