It’s definitely the season for diet drinks and fresh starts, gym memberships and exercise equipment... isn't that normal behavior for the New Year? Spell check just reminded me to capitalize those words, because they signal a new twelve month cycle, 365 days of new possibilities. Yet self assessment is difficult and re-direction daunting, often causing the wistful hopefulness of New Year’s resolutions to dissipate quickly. In fact, it’s more common to give up on self-improvement goals before the end of January, than to effect lasting change.
So what’s a gal to do in the face of needed overhaul, when energy and finances are limited? The biggest challenge for me is focusing on attainable lifestyle changes, and staying “on track” once I start. How about you?
I think a great way to begin is to turn to God’s Word for direction and help. Favorite scriptures bolster resolve because they remind us of God’s promises and His faithfulness. The Apostle Paul’s proclamation that he “can do all things through Christ who strengthens” him is a faith booster for all who will take it to heart. (Philippians 4:13) Other verses encourage Christians to “walk by the Spirit,” leaning on God’s Holy Spirit to direct and change lives. We are further instructed to “be transformed by the renewing of our minds,” so we “will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2) To sustain any lasting change, inner change is necessary; and God is eager that we cooperate with His Spirit so that we might be “transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
Once we determine new goals, we’ll need help to fight lethargy and discouragement. Recently I noticed this important truth in the Book of Hebrews: “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.” (Hebrews 3:13) It seems to me that the word “daily” is a critical term pointing to sustained effort. When we keep the truth of the Gospel close to heart, reviewing it daily, it will be easier to walk in the Spirit and see positive changes in our lives. As a result, the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23 (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) will be produced in our hearts and thus our actions. And by keeping our eyes daily on Christ’s atoning sacrifice and God’s wonderful grace, we’ll stay aware of sin’s polluting influence and deceit.
All that being said, my desire for you is that 2015 will be filled with blessings for you and those you love. May you know the joy and peace of our Heavenly Father, and bring Him praise. Have a wonderful new year!`