There’s something forgiving about beginnings. After we’ve spent months, sometimes years, rehashing regrets and sins committed against us, at some point we want to start over, to wipe the slate clean, so to speak.
As this year comes to an end, at least half of the nation will contemplate setting new goals. In order to successfully do that, we must deal with causes of failures. If we don’t, we face the possibility of repeating our mistakes. That leads to discouragement, regret, and more poor choices.
What if we could break the cycle of failure? What if we could accomplish all that we set out to do?
Instead of beginning a new year with resolutions we know in our gut we won’t keep, why not begin with a renewed commitment to involve God in all we do. I don’t mean the kind of commitment attached to a John 3:16 Mission (although that’s a noble task), or a determination to read the bible in a year (no offense to Mitch or our elders), or tying ourselves to an exercise program. Those things are good, but most of us fail at them.
I’m referring to a commitment where we involve Him in everything we do. Period. If I want to take a shower, I ask Him to help me relax and to transform my attitude for the rest of the day. If I want to sit and relax in front of the television set, I ask Him to help me make a better choice in regard to what I watch. If my telephone rings, I ask Him to please help me be courteous and attentive, no matter who is on the other end of the line. And if I want to finish the curtains in the dining room (or whatever project you or I started months ago), I ask Him to give me the enthusiasm and stamina needed to finish them.
If it hasn’t occurred to you, this takes pressure off your daily life and places it at the altar of our Father. We know we need Him every hour, but sometimes we don’t live as if we believe it. Often, we don’t stop and ask God what He thinks about our decisions. We just go about our lives fumbling in the dark assured by some osmosis that our goals will be accomplished. Then we end up frustrated when our goals aren’t met.
We never involved Him in our daily living. We never bent our knees and gave Him our worries. We never asked for the strength to get on a treadmill, or if we should travel to Germany for that mission trip, or talk to a co-worker who doesn’t dress appropriately, or tell a sister or brother they hurt our feelings. We just wake up and take for granted that what we want will be done, or that past hurt feelings will take care of themselves.
We forget God cares about every aspect of our lives. We forget He made not only the spiritual side of us, but the emotional, mental, and physical, too. He placed within us a heart and mind to serve Him. It is written:
“18 Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. 19 Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered. 20 When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked. 21 Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” ─ Matthew 21:18-22
When was the last time you consulted God concerning every aspect of your life, from an ingrown toenail to a pick-up game of basketball?
If we want to succeed in the coming year, we must come to Him with an open heart, and a believing mind and spirit, and a faith without doubt. Prayers can be prayed anywhere at any time. Calling on Him is only a breath away.
Here is my challenge to you.
Use your computer to keep track of your journey this year. At the end of the year when you look back, I anticipate you will be amazed how far God has taken you, both in spiritual growth and personal goals. I suspect your achievements will far outreach any you’ve ever endeavored. I’m not necessarily looking for how long you were able to keep up your exercise routine, or if you ran a marathon. The aim of the challenge is for you to seek and involve God in whatever you determine to do. If your goal is to run a marathon, then so be it. However, if you aim to run a marathon and find God has somehow taken you on a deeper spiritual journey, how amazing would that be?
Let’s end this year with a 31-day prayer for the coming year. Begin praying each day in December 2013 for God to give you a believing spirit (Oh, God, help our unbelief), strength, remembrance, and the desire to seek Him for all that you need and set out to do next year.
Then at the end of next year (December 1, 2014, to be precise), let’s compare notes of our twelve-month journey. If He is in agreement, I’ll see you this time next year.
Merry Christmas! And a Happy and Spiritual New Year!!!