My New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s Eve is traditionally a time to compare the past with what we want for our future. We reflect on the changes we prefer or need to make. Then we resolve to rid our self of our bad habits and to replace them with good habits, which will help us to reach our desired success in life. How often, though, do we stick to our resolutions?

I find greater success by following God’s formula for change all through the year. We are like a creeping caterpillar, spiritually dead. If we continue to walk in the ungodly deeds of the flesh, we do not belong to God or have His Spirit in us (Romans 8:9). We are not able to compare with the majestic butterfly flitting on glorious wings, dancing upon the sunbeams, dining on nectar, playful and full of life.

As we surrender to God, we wrap in the chrysalis of His new birth. Through the process of sanctification, we emerge resplendent in Christ’s divine nature and character, which He forms in us over a lifetime in His presence (2 Peter 1:4). God’s Spirit enables us to refrain from conforming to the world, and to conform to Christ instead (Romans 12:2).

The blood of Christ draws us near to God, and His Spirit renovates our soul (Ephesians 2:13). Our inner transformation influences our outward response to the world and to God’s will for our life. We bear fruit in all that we do, as we grow in our understanding of God and His ways (Colossians 1:10). We continually reflect more of the glory of God through our thoughts, words and actions (2 Corinthians 3:18).

The message of the Gospel of Christ gives us the power of God, which transforms us from the inside out (1 Corinthians 1:18). God’s Spirit renews our mind and creates in us the desire for holiness in the image of God (Ephesians 4:22-24). His divine power gives us everything we need to live godly lives and to follow the leading of His Spirit (2 Peter 1:3-11).

Prayer:
Lord, help us to resolve to follow Your will for our life, giving You prominence in our thoughts and obeying You in all we say and do by the power of Your Holy Spirit (Romans 8:13-14). Help us to shed the trappings of the old man and to soar in the freedom of Your Spirit (Ephesians 4:22-24). Remind us to live by faith in Your faithfulness and to walk in Your righteousness (Romans 1:16-17).

Thought for the Day:
When Christ appears, we shall be completely like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. – 1 John 3:2-3

The Fruit of Holiness

Our current civilization accepts sin as normal. For instance, we live together in sin because it is accepted in our society, but it is not accepted in God’s society. We white wash our sinful behavior and are not fit for the presence of God in our life (Matthew 23:27). Only holiness and trust in God unite to make us effective ministers in God’s Kingdom.

Our spirit vitally needs holiness for fulfillment. We cannot walk in godliness without living in holiness (Matthew 5:6). Our spirit shrinks from carnal behavior, which our soul – our mind, will and emotions – often pursues. Through Sanctification, God’s Spirit conforms us – body, soul and spirit – to the purity of Christ Jesus, our Lord (Matthew 5:8).

There is no need for legalism, criticism or judgmentalism in holiness. This is a private walk, not relying on human self-effort, but simply the leading of God’s Spirit with each individual. God may deal with you to stop smoking as His first priority in your sanctification process; but in our sister, He will deal with it last, because there are other issues in her life, which He wants to deal with first.

God uses His Body as the hands, feet and heart of Jesus on the earth (Matthew 5:16). Through an attitude of purity, we minister in love to those whom God brings our way. The fruit, gifts and ministry of God’s Spirit flow through us to affect the world around us for Christ (Galatians 5:22-23; 1 Corinthians 12:8-10; Ephesians 4:7-13). With a heart fully dedicated to Jesus, we are used by God to change our world.

Prayer:
Father God, Your family represents Your reputation on this earth. Too many people claim membership in Your family and live for the devil. This tarnishes Your name and Your effectiveness. Lead us to live in holiness for Your name’s sake (Psalm 23:3). Your justice is righteous, and we embrace Your discipline, which causes us to hear Your loving kindness with each new morning (Psalm 143:8).

Thought for the Day:
Righteous living is possible to achieve in our life, because it is birthed by God’s Spirit in an ever increasing measure of holiness within us.