My New Year Resolutions

I started to name this entry, “Godly Resolutions for the New Year.” But I thought that would be a bit presumptuous. So instead I’ll tell you my own resolutions for 2018:

I will kill my pet sins.

I mentioned this briefly in my last post. I am resolved to not make any more excuses for my sins. Gluttony is a sin I’ve “struggled” with for a while. When I say struggling I mean that I was fully convinced that it was sinful and simultaneously felt completely helpless to do anything about it. And quite honestly I didn’t desire to change my ways. I was well versed in confession but not in repentance. I would say sorry to the Lord for sinning against Him, and yet in the back of my mind, I wasn’t ready to put it to death or to turn away from it. Then I would despair of life itself because I knew I shouldn’t gratify the desires of the flesh, but I couldn’t seem to help myself. I would often feel defeated to the extent that wouldn’t even try to not sin against God. I’m not waiting until the clock strikes 12 for me to do change anything about this. I’m starting now. Christ is better than whatever sin you may be treasuring. Kill your pet sin and find out.

I will steward my time and gifts better.

I can be so wasteful of time that it is absurd. Well, I am resolved to be jealous for myself and the time God has given me. I want to make sure that I’m using my time in a way that matches my desires. I desire for God to be glorified in my life, to encourage and equip the saints and that I may win some souls for my Savior. I will live in such a way that I can work toward what I really desire. That means that I need to make sacrifices in my day. I won’t have time to do all the things my flesh desires like endless scrolls on social media, TV marathons or everyday movie nights. It doesn’t make sense that in my free time I do what I really don’t desire. God entrusts us with time, gifts and resources. And while He is absolutely sovereign we must take our responsibility for the times that we drop the ball. God is a redeemer and He can redeem those wasted hours and days. But friends we are like a flower in a field we will not be here forever. We don’t have a lot of time to waste. We need to go forward and be good and faithful servants. That “well done” that all saints desire to hear from their Lord (Matt 25:23), is earned in these days we have now. No matter how mundane no day can be wasted. Let us do what really matters to us and to God.

I will be disciplined.

I’ve lacked complete discipline most of 2017 if not all of it. I didn’t exercise self-control in eating or in how I spent my time. I would sometimes have these moments where I would be zealous to turn things around in this respect, but as soon as my zeal was gone I regressed back into not have self-control. I would read the word self-control in the Bible and just cringe. I knew I was lacking in that fruit and just the thought of exercising that spiritual “muscle” seemed less than fun and overwhelming to me. But I’ve come to realize that I do have control over myself. I’m not some helpless puddle of a person. I control myself when I overindulge in food, or when I have Netflix binges when I know that I have others I need to be doing. I am in control of myself in those moments. So that means that I can say, ‘no’ to an extra helping of food or when Netflix just goes into the next episode. It seems elementary but I really believe I was in a stronghold or hugely deceived about self-control. When I grabbed the whole bag of chips, instead of grabbing a serving I really believed that there was nothing I could do to help myself. I feel like I have to say that there is nothing innately wrong with enjoying food or entertainment. But when we enjoy them rightly we show that we are thankful to the Giver. And when we are disciplined we can enjoy them as God designed them to be enjoyed. These things are not the main things, they cannot satisfy our souls. In 2018 and beyond let’s keep the main thing, the main thing. Let’s enjoy Christ as the best gift we could ever imagine, or ever deserve.

I will enjoy God.

I am resolved to enjoy God and think good and true things about Him. God isn’t some taskmaster ready to whip me if I don’t complete my Bible reading plan or devotional. God is not weary of me, He loves me. I am resolved to approach my quiet time as a means to discover more about Him. While knowing that He meets me there every day. I am resolved to be so full of the truth that I won’t believe the lies that Satan says about Him, nor will I believe his accusations about me. I know that He is my chiefest good and that apart from Him I have no good thing (Psalm 16:2). God the Father is good even if my plans don’t happen when I want them to. God the Holy Spirit is good especially when He convicts me of sin. God the Son is good even though He bids me to pick up my cross and die (Luke 9:23). God is good and I am resolved not to believe anything other than that. I will think of God’s love for me, and not focus on how unlovable I can be. I will remind myself that God already loves me and I didn’t earn it nor can I lose it. And that I don’t need to work myself up into a tizzy because Jesus Christ is my righteousness. We may not enjoy the spouses, children, careers or opportunities our heart’s desire, but we can still enjoy God. We can remind ourselves of the Gospel and be the first preacher we hear. Friends, let’s not wait until the call of the trumpet let’s enjoy God today.

There is something special about the coming of a new year, we should be thankful to God that our eyes may see 2018. Yet, January 1st is no more special than any new day that God gives us. Every day that we awake we receive new mercies, to repent and to draw near Him. If anything we should ask God to help us to be faithful even when our zeal or passion goes missing in action. January 1st doesn’t unleash some power that we don’t have available to us day by day. Dream big, pray prayers that make you a little apprehensive and make big plans. But know we make plans, but our times are all in His hands. And don’t put your hope in them, let them be stayed on Christ. I’m sure that wherever we go that our Shepherd will be with us. And that He will teach us many new things, and we will look more like Him. Love God, cling to Him and don’t let go.

The Question of the Day: What are your resolutions for 2018 if any? Do you have a word for the year? What changes do you want God to make in your heart?

Please, be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter. And, stop by my shop and pick up some cute tees. Thank you for checking my little square of the Internet, be sure to follow and like. Thanks for reading and supporting my blog. I pray that it edifies you and glorifies God.

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What I’ve Learned This Year (2017)

With 2018 just around the corner, I thought I would compose a list of some things I have learned this year:

I’ve learned that personal holiness isn’t an option.

I’ve struggled in the past few months wrestling with this idea of pursuing holiness. I know that God in Christ has called me to holiness(1 Peter 1:5). Often times the thought overwhelms me and takes my breath away. Indeed it is a high calling, one that we will not perfect on this side of glory. Yet God wants us to share His nature (Hebrew 12:!0) so it is something that is worth every effort. I would go back and forth in my mind, ‘Why pursue holiness if I’m going to continue to fall short of the glory of God? Why pursue holiness (which is perfection) when I will not become perfect in this life?’ And to be transparent it is still something I’m tossing back and forth in my mind today. The facts: God has called me to be holy and He has given me all I need to be like Him(2 Peter 1:3). I think the already-and-not-yet aspect of Christianity is slightly frustrating me. I want to be perfect now, and that will never be my reality. I think once I got saved I realized that I have some perfectionism and I can be more driven by my performance than my love for God. It is a grace a to be in Christ but often times I am overwhelmed by how often I need to look to Him. What I mean is this, Jesus is my righteousness, He makes me acceptable to the Father. And yet I find myself wanting to earn God’s love and have a righteousness of my own. It is humbling, and I so need to be humbled. I need to not make myself “lovable” but be compelled by God’s love for me in Christ.

I’ve learned that it is easier to fall away from God than it is to draw near Him.

There is no such thing as a ‘happy middle’ in Christianity. We are either drawing close to God or we are moving far from Him. And I notice for me that the shift is swift, and often times I’m so far away from God before I even realize it. It is when the means of grace (prayer, Bible study, devotions, fasting, etc.) become something to check off my list than a means to draw near to God. I’ll find myself racing through these just to do the things I’d rather do. And don’t get me wrong we need to discipline ourselves in these matters so that we will do them. But we have to be mindful that we don’t earn God’s love because we do them, no are we working to earn righteousness, because Christ is our righteousness. If we aren’t drawing near to God with these means of grace He’s given us, allowing Him to renew our minds, focus our gaze and warm our hearts with His fire, we are moving away from Him.

I’ve learned that there is this perfect Christ-follower in my head, and she is so much better than me. Yet she is not standard, Christ is the standard.

So often I get overwhelmed comparing myself to her. She loves the Lord. She’d rather read her Bible, or Christian books than settle for a night of binging on Netflix. She prays all the time. She goes to church, even when she doesn’t feel like it. She cares about and loves people. She is perfect, and I am not. Now, there is nothing wrong with none of her activities. I aim to be more Christ-like but I am not her. This woman in head never struggles, she never is tried by fire nor does she sin. She is perfect! I don’t need to go on social media to compare myself to others because there is a non-existing person that I already do that with. I have to remind myself that Christ is the standard, He actually exists and doesn’t desire for me to be so tortured.

I’ve learned that God isn’t leaving my side.

I think I’ve given God many reasons to leave my side. In my mind, He would still be just to throw to the towel with me. But if He did He would be no God.  As challenging as my walk is, and will likely continue to be God has not given me over. Were it not for those hard-headed Israelites in the Old Testament I would not know that God is so compassionate and merciful. I would not know that He is a covenant-keeping God. There have been several times I desired to walk away from God, not because I stopped believing, or because He isn’t good. But because walking with Him was harder than I expected. And still, He never left my side. God is faithful even we aren’t. Because of those dark moments (that I wouldn’t wish for anyone else) I know my name is written in heaven. I’m even surer of my salvation in Christ. I know that even when I am a mess, and I can’t lift my eyes heavenward, God will complete this good work that He’s’ started in me (Phil 1:6).

I’ve learned the significance of tithing, and generosity in general.

This is mostly due to the four-week series my church did on this subject. It wasn’t very long after I joined a church, that I understood the importance of tithing. But my Pastors Dr. Marcus D. Davidson Jr. and Frank Kennedy Jr. expounded several scriptures about generosity. Before I came to know God I presumed churches were after the member’s wallet. But when God gave me faith in His Son, I saw in the Scriptures that giving wasn’t a man-made idea. From Genesis to Revelation we see God’s people giving out of what He’s already given them. And again we don’t give to earn God’s grace or favor. We give because we want our treasures to be in heaven(Matthew 6:19-21).

I’ve learned that you can’t have pet sins.

Gluttony has been a pet sin of mines since the Holy Spirit first convicted me that it indeed was a sin. In the past, I have tried to put it away, and exercise self-control, only to eventually give up and decide to try to control it instead of killing it (Romans 8:13). A pet sin is a sin dear to your heart, one that you refuse to let go of. You convince yourself that you can keep it and control it. But sin can’t be controlled it can only control you. When we seek to not put sin away but rather keep it, we desire to reverse the roles, but that is impossible. Sin will always be master and we can only be slaves to it. Besides sin isn’t something to take likely. It puts barriers between us and God. We can not be a slave to two masters, we will love the one and hate the other(Matthew 6:24). You may put sin in a little cage, and sometimes take it out and pet it, but it will always control you. And you will never control it.

This year has gone by too fast. I’ve learned a lot this year, I’ve had days on the mountain and days in the valley. But God has been with me every step of the way, although dark and confusing. I think if I had to think of one word to describe this year, I would say ‘crawling’. Seeing that I am still somewhat of an infant in Christ. I am learning to walk with God, sometimes I fall, but He always picks me right up. My earthly father died this year, only months ago, but God has reminded that I still have a Father, an eternal one at that. All in all, I am blessed even when my own eyes can’t see it.

Thank You for following my journey as I walk with God. May God bless and keep you. May your heart be filled with gratitude. May you be contented. May you love the Lord with all your strength.

Please, be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter. And, stop by my shop and pick up some cute tees. Thank you for checking my little square of the Internet, be sure to follow and like. Thanks for reading and supporting my blog. I pray that it edifies you and glorifies God.