A life of purpose in 2018 – New Years Resolution’s that could actually change your life…
New years resolutions are something that almost everyone has around the world. Here are the most popular (in no particular order) that I found during an online search recently…
- Lose Weight and Get Fit
- Quit Smoking
- Learn Something New
- Eat Healthier and Diet
- Get Out of Debt and Save Money
- Spend More Time with Family
- Travel to New Places
- Be Less Stressed
- Fall in Love
- Get Organised
There are also a large number of Christian New Years Resolutions, check some of them out:
- Stay faithful to Jesus Christ
- Read the Bible more
- Watch your language, don’t gossip and drop Christianese
- Talk to your parents on a regular basis
- Be angry less and love your enemy
- Honour your commitment to your spouse
- Don’t take anything that isn’t yours (a nice way of saying no stealing!)
- Be nice to your pastor
- Give more
- Turn off technology one day a week
P.S. For those of you who don’t know what Christianese is, it is a name referring to words that some Christians may use that make no sense to many people hearing them.
Common examples may be: I resonate with that, let’s have some fellowship, slain in the spirit, I echo that and the list could go on.
Interestingly enough, you will find that year in and year out these are very similar – why?Because not many people ever really stick to them! And this points out the difference between a good idea and a belief.
An idea – a thought or suggestion as to a possible course of action
A belief – something one accepts as true or real; a firmly held opinion or conviction
You see a good idea is just that, an idea and it most cases it does not change our behaviour. A belief is something that we will inevitably act on. It is something that will alter our behaviour.
The same can be said for Christian Faith. You may think it is a good idea – that church is a useful institution, there is a God somewhere out there, and the bible is a useful book – but that will NEVER make you pursue Jesus Christ and His Kingdom.
That happens when you believe!
When you believe in Jesus Christ – it is inevitable that there will be action, that your life will change! And that is what I want to explore in this blog post. When you think about 2018, what do we believe!? Not what do you think is a good idea, but what do you BELIEVE! What can you think on for 2018 that will affect your behaviour and will allow you to make history in 2018!
Let’s explore Romans12vs1-2, but before we do, let me give you a bit of background. Paul is writing this just after he has explained how incredible God’s grace is, how Jesus’ death and resurrection made a way for all peoples to have a relationship with Jesus. All peoples destined for an eternity in Hell, have the opportunity to be forgiven of their sin and to enjoy a friendship with the living God. And on the back of this he says the following:
I appeal to you, therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
So I want to take 4 points out of this passage that I trust genuinely will help each of us to make history in 2018 – They are not ideas, they are beliefs!
1. Believe and Accept Jesus
Paul challenges us to do something because of ‘the mercies of God’. Other translations may say the compassion of God! What is the compassion of God? That is the gospel! It is a mighty, powerful, glorious, holy King who passionately pursues a relationship with a broken people! It is about a people destined for Hell, with no hope of changing course but for Jesus taking our sin, our mess on himself, so that if we turn to Him, repent of sin and believe – our sins are wiped clean, our trajectory of life moves from Hell to Heaven and we enjoy restored relationship with God! That is mercy! That is compassion! That is Grace!
The first step to making History in 2018, is to believe and accept Jesus!
2. Daily offer ALL of ourselves for Gods fame
Once we get part one as a belief, our behaviour will change to part two. Inevitably we will want to give God our lives! Gratitude and thanksgiving will overflow because of what He has done for us – so much so that we WANT to offer our bodies! This area is something we may struggle with because of our sinful nature, fear, incorrect belief in part one or many other reasons.
You see when Paul talks about our body, it means all of our life and all activities that we take part in. Everything! We dedicate it to the Lord.
In 1Corinthians10vs31, Paul says:
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Paul is using the basics of eating and drinking to explain that we can do everything with an awareness of God! In effect, we are to live on purpose for Gods fame. We don’t just go hmmm maybe I will just flow into it one day – we actively say, Lord, I want all of my life to be for you!
The end result is that wherever we are, however we are placed, whatever we are doing – we can thrive because we know that we are where God wants us! That is what a living sacrifice does – it says I have laid down my life for God, and God lives through me in every aspect of my life! And a living sacrifice keeps doing that every day!
The incredible thing about this is that nothing in life is mundane or boring. Brother Andrew once spoke of how you can wash dishes to the glory of God. It is so important that you and I realise that we can eat meals to the glory of God and go to school for the glory of God. It is amazing that how you wake up, how you mow the lawn and how you treat your boss is not mundane. It is all spiritual, it is all worship, it can all be effective and valuable in God’s Kingdom!
Scandalously, even with all our sin, offering ourselves to Jesus as Christ followers is a holy and acceptable gift to the Lord because in Jesus we are perfect! If it wasn’t for Jesus, we would be offering a mouldy rotten piece of chocolate but thanks to Jesus’ making us right before God, we are holy and blameless in His site! Isn’t that incredible!? It doesn’t matter what we have done or where we have messed up to this point, we can daily offer ourselves to Jesus Christ as holy and acceptable.
And if you are reading this and you don’t have a relationship with Jesus – please do get in touch and I would love to share more about what it means to be a Christ follower.
3. Do not be conformed to this world
When we have part one and two – we believe in Jesus and we have given him ALL our lives, it is inevitable that we will want what He wants, and we will desire to honour Him with everything!
BUT sin and society get in the way of this and we need to be vigilant and on our guard.
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
In 1John1vs5-7 it says
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
Just because ‘everyone does it’ doesn’t make it right. There may be things that are acceptable to many in your society, but that doesn’t mean it honours the Lord. We must not conform! Jesus calls us to be different! Are we perfect? No, and we never will be during our life on earth. BUT, are we actively asking the Lord to show us where we are conforming and areas of our lives where we are walking in darkness?
I can think of many things in Zimbabwe (my home) where Christ followers could conform to what is acceptable in society including corruption and bribery. The bible is clear, we are not to conform. We are to be above reproach. We are to be different, as LIGHT is to darkness!
As you read this, what is the Lord convicting you of? What are areas of your life looking rather more like the darkness than the light?
4. Daily Renew our Minds
Once you realise that you are conforming to the world, the way to change is to be transformed by the renewing of your minds. Transformed has it’s origin in three Greek words which combined together give us the English word metamorphosis. To change from the inside out. We need to alter our beliefs internally in the control centre of our body, the mind and then our actions will begin to change. You see our mind controls our attitudes, our thoughts, our feelings and therefore our actions. So to change our behaviour, we need to change what our mind thinks and believes! As you allow, that is the key word, ALLOW God to change your mind, your desires will become Gods and you will find that you are being transformed!
What we feed our minds with will determine the trajectory of our life. Feed on the things of God, your output will be a life lived for God! How do we do that? There is no hard and fast rule or formula, but it is time spent with Him. Quiet times, podcasts, talking about Him with your spouse and your family, and ultimately allowing what He says to flow through us and dictate how we see the world!
The result is that you will start to know and want God’s will and you will really believe that it is good, acceptable and perfect. It won’t be an IDEA for you that God’s will is best – it will be a BELIEF and so your life will start to look more and more like the glorious life He has called you to!
So first we believe in Him, then we offer ourselves to Him, as a result, we choose to not conform to this world and as we do that, our minds are renewed and our life transforms from the inside out as we begin to follow God’s will.
And that is how we make History in 2018! That is how we impact this world for Gods Fame. That is how we live lives of purpose! Just like Brother Andrew, we don’t need to start a ministry – the way that he washed dishes has impacted thousands of people. We can allow the mundane to become meaningful as we offer ourselves to Jesus each day!