Summary: This is the time of year we resolve to change our lives. Let’s resolve to make some spiritual changes that truly reflect Christ.
This is the time of year when we resolve to change our life. Usually it has something to do with our physical health. We resolve to stop smoking, to quit eating so much, to start excercising and so on. We are lucky if these promises that we make ourselves last 6 months. As important as those things are, this year I would like to challenge you to change you spiritual life. To do so requires a self inventory. To make the necessary changes last requires God speaking to you, since the only thing that endures is His word. But when we do this, we truly get a glimpse of His nature. Let’s look into God’s word and see what we can find to help us to committ to our spiritual resolutions.
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. James 4:7-10
Our resolutions reflect His nature when we:
I. Resolve to relinquish. (7a) Our first issue is that of submission. Are we at the point of totally reliquishing everything to God? Or are there areas in our lives where we know what is best? Submission is not a popular word these days. However in order for us to have righteous lives, we MUST be submissive!
We must relinquish our:
a. wrongs- sin.
b. Rights- ownership of our lives. Allow God to have full control. Pride wants us to be king.
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service." Rom. 12:1 Jesus said it this way, In order for you to come after me, you must deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me.
II. Resolve to resist. (7b) Resisting isn’t something most christians do very well. Saying the word "no" is very difficult for most of us. The fear of hurt feelings, broken relationship or simply wanting to overplease creates opportunities that bring on depression, hurt feelings, and often resentment into our lives. We must learn the art of resisting. However pride doesn’t want us to look like a fool. We want to be known as someone who can! We can resist by:
a. Avoiding traps. Traps are set in our lives to cause us to fall. Jesus had many traps set for Him, but He never fell. Why? Because He knew the will of His Father. He gave us the perfect example of how to resist temptation when He was in the desert for 40 days. The purest way to avoid traps is by knowing God’s written and living word.
b. Resisting urges. There are different compulsions that strike each of us. The media uses all of our senses to tempt us to buy their product. Gods word tells us , "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." Rom. 12:2. We are to easily conformed to the pressures that the world pushes into our lives. Pressures to look like, sound like, act like, believe like, what the world holds as truth. We can only avoid our urges when we allow God to transform our minds with His renewing of His word! After He transforms our belief system, and our ability to see, He gives us His insight and understanding of just why we shouldn’t commit those sins
III. Resolve to rely. (8) The only true way to rely on God is by truly resolving to trust God by drawing near Him through much prayer and bible study along with sacrificial living. Pride tempts us to live independently from God. We forget however that you can’t please God without faith. It’s not faith if you are relying on anything else but God! The promise is that when we draw near to God, when we make our attempt to focus our easily distracted minds on God, no matter how feeble our attempts are, He will draw near to us. Picture the woman who had a bleeding problem for twelve years. She had trusted in man all this time and because of it she wasted her time, and money. One day she realized, "If I could just touch His hem." That is it! If we could just come into His presence to the point that we touch the lowest part of Him, we will find our answers! We will be healed! We will find the money! The strength! The ability! Our answer is in Him! But we must resolve to rely only on Him.