As 2018 as arrived so have all the New Year’s Resolutions and goals. The gyms will be filled the next couple weeks, and more Paleo diet books and the like will be downloaded and fly off the shelves. We will pledge more time with family, less time on Netflix and social media. Thousands will announce their new goals to give up things, like sugar, smoking, gluten, etc. and sadly, most people will abandon these resolutions within a couple weeks.
But what kind of change do we really need and how can it happen? This verse in Old Testament gives us some insight of what the Lord is able to do. “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36.26). True change is a change of our heart. Deep change comes from the inside out. So changing our hair and weight might be noticeable, change in our character and choices are more beneficial. These changes on the inside that manifest on the outside, make the greatest difference in our lives and the lives of those closest to us, those we love and need in our lives.
What deep change would be the greatest for you this year? More time with family? Freedom from temper? The way you talk to your spouse? How you use time and resources? Do you need free from addictions? Be less grumpy? Have more joy, less fear? The Lord can do a work in our hearts and deep change can happen through Christ if we will be humble and ask Him for help. He can give us the strength for all these kinds of changes and more.
I love the verse in Proverbs 4.23, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Only the Lord can change a heart by His love, grace, forgiveness, and mercy.
Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Pr 4:23). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.
Staying interested and engaged in the things of God takes discipline and tenacity. It is God’s will for us. It is His desire we grow in our relationship with him. It is easy to get out of the habits and disciplines that cause our spiritual interest and hunger to stay on Christ. It is too easy to drift and to move back to the things of this world that have nothing to offer us spiritually and add nothing positive to our life. Our old ways can creep back. Here are some practical ways to keep engaged in the Lord.
- Have a Bible reading and Bible study plan. If not, you will most likely just skip around and neglect the Word of God altogether. Reading the Word is communing with the Spirit of God.
- Serve in the Kingdom. Do something for others and for the Lord. Get out of just thinking of your life, your schedule, your finances, your health and do something for God and serve others.
- Talk to the Lord more. Pray daily. Make it a habit this year to pray before meals, at bed, in the morn, while you drive, just talk to the Lord more.
- Become a worshiper. Learn to go deeper in expressing your love to the Lord. Decide you are not going to care what anyone thinks, and worship.
- Access your life and habits. Is there anything quenching your desire for Christ? Any sin you are not being honest about? Shows and website you should not be viewing? Missing going to church a lot and you no longer think anything of it? Temper, swearing, anger, too common and needs to go?
- Do generous things. The Holy Spirit moves in us when we are generous for the Lord is so generous to us in so many ways.
- Make it a goal to grow in Christ with others. Get in a small group, host one, or lead one. Growing in life and community with others is God’s way. We were created for relationship.
- Enjoy Jesus– He is awesome. Fellowship with His Spirit is amazing. His love is great and His friendship priceless. If you are not enjoying a relationship with the living God, you may not know Him that well. Start to enjoy the Lord and His presence in your life.
Anything else you would add?