Romans 12:1-2 (NLT)
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Well, it’s the eve of a brand New Year. 2015 will be here tomorrow. In many ways, this year has flown by and in some ways it feels as though it would never end. As we wrap things, many people are making their New Year’s resolutions. The things that they did right hoping to do more of and the things that they flubbed will surely be changed. The gym has been buzzing lately with new recruits marching from machine to machine ready to sacrifice years of fat accumulation and poor choices on the altar of self-sacrifice. Others have made strict budgets to be adhered to in the coming year to get out of the financial bondage that has them strapped. There are so many things that we want to change and for some reason decide that the first day of the New Year is that day! For the church, it has become the fashionably religious thing to “Daniel Fast” for so many days during January. I am not condemning this practice as I have done the very same thing for a countless number of years. This week, I have become wrapped up in my best intentions and heartfelt desire to change in the coming year. I became so enamored in these thoughts that I began to fear the disruption of my life and had second thoughts about most of them. It was in a moment of total overwhelming emotion that the Lord finally got my attention about His Intentions for me in the coming year.
God is not interested in my new resolutions for the coming year. A resolution is a human perspective on our life. It is a firmness of purpose decided by us. When we are resolved, it means that we have determined to take action regarding a certain thing. The next step we take after such a decision determines if our resolution becomes revelation or religion. Revelation is the act of revealing. Godly revelation is when He imparts His Wisdom to us and discernment causes us to accept it. This is very important as we enter the coming year. God has been laying on my heart “change” for the last few months. He has been preparing me for them. However, as I became wrapped up in the human push for change in the New Year, I began to try to prepare for these changes my way, the world’s way but not the Lord’s Way. So here I am today with my New Year’s revelation!
James 2:21-24 (NLT)
Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” He was even called the friend of God. So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone.
Anything that I do outside of the Power of God through Jesus Christ becomes my religion. There I said it just as He gave it to me yesterday. I had become bound up in the doing and not in the being. I was making resolutions but not relying on His Revelation. I had a strategy and plan that terrified me. If the Lord reveals something to you, He will be faithful to do it. You don’t have to doing anything other than believe God and do exactly what He says to have all that He promised. Abraham focused intently on His Friendship with God and God gave his friend everything he needed to prosper body, mind and spirit. The Lord gave to Abraham exceedingly abundantly more than he ever imagined. Why? Because Abraham was faithful to God. I know this sounds simplistic but it really is how we become everything God has called us to be. Our good works must always be a product of our faith. Simply doing good things apart from God is routine and religion. We must live in the Power of God by faith which means that He completes the good work that He began in each of us. (Philippians 1:6) If you are certain that God is able to do more than you can even think to ask for (Ephesians 3:20), faith holds your position in confident hope of this very thing. Have you made some New Year’s resolutions? Are they realistic? Are they godly revelation or human endeavors?
Matthew 23:25-28 (NLT)
“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and self-indulgence! You blind Pharisee! First wash the inside of the cup and the dish, and then the outside will become clean, too. What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.”
There are two areas of our life that usually are the focus of New Year’s Resolutions – our physical being and financial status. If you ask the majority of people what they hope to change in the coming year, I am pretty sure that it will fall in one of these two categories. My husband and I are members at the neighborhood gym. It will be a madhouse for the next couple of months filled with people trying to fill their commitments to have a healthier lifestyle in the coming year. Sometime around March, the fervor will die down and the same people who we work out consistently will have some breathing room. Only a few of the newbies will remain faithful to their commitment. Some will continue to their membership with good intentions to return, but never will. Others will come in and cancel their membership to pursue the next latest and greatest health fad. God invites you this year to exchange your resolution for better health to experience the true revelation of the renewing of your spirit.
We become so worried about how others see us that we do not spend any time on the inside of our life that God sees. Everything we do can be impacted by our relationship to Jesus Christ. When I began fasting intermittently many years ago, my intake began to radically change with each endeavor. Not because I meant to change, but throughout the process I lost my taste for certain things or saw improvements in my overall health even though I was pursuing a deeper relationship with God through the process. Religion says everyone fast. It is our relationship with God that determines what comes of the process. Faith empowers the process to produce a godly work in our life. Without faith, it is nothing more than a diet. A personal challenge of mind over matter with no real benefit. I can work out seven days a week. I can completely change my eating habits to an all-natural and totally organic diet. I am still dying. I am still filled with sin. I cannot save my life or even prolong it outside of Jesus Christ and His Amazing Grace. Instead, I just produce a nice and shiny cup and dish for the world to see with a rotting soul inside. It doesn’t how we look to others, but what God sees in our heart when He looks.
I Timothy 6:17-19 (NLT)
Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.
Financial goals are often set as New Year’s resolutions. Budgets are made. Spending is cut. Yet, both seldom adhered to on a long term basis. God wants us to use our money to do good. We are to be “rich” in good works and generous to others. The first beneficial financial goal and most rewarding one that you will ever make is tithing. Well, that just blew the budget when we are trying to save. Tithing changed our life. Here’s the cycle – we decide to make better financial choices, stress over the budget, work hard to make it work, and still money seems to go down a proverbial drain. Our finances are not exempt from faith. God has promised to provide all that we need with an abundance to share generously with others. If we do not include divine revelation, abiding faith and confidence in God’s Ability and Willingness to meet our every need – you might as well tear up that piece of paper or delete the spreadsheet labeled “Budget”. The point of our life is to have faith in Jesus and to trust God.
Acts 20:22-24 (NLT)
“And now I am bound by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. I don’t know what awaits me, except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead. But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.”
The Lord did not ask you to change a thing. He only asks that we yield everything to His Spirit and allow Him to complete the good work that He has begun in us. It is human nature to want to help Him in the process. We do so in surrender. Each resolution we make should line up with the Fruits that His Spirit is working in our life. (Galatians 5:22-23) My life is meaningless and worth nothing outside of the Purpose that God has given me. He provided everything that I need to have it. I must only rely on His Revelation to find it. It begins with the Word of God. (2 Timothy 3:16-17) We will never have the life that God prepared, planned and provided us outside of the Truth. If we do not know the Word of God, then we do not know what to look for. It is the foundation of spiritual revelation empowering our mind to know and discern what the Lord is telling us. Our number one revelation above any other resolution or goal must be to know God more and draw closer to Jesus Christ in 2015. (Period!) “Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.” (I Timothy 2:15)
Hebrews 10:19-25 (NLT)
And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
What are your New Year’s resolutions? Are they godly revelation? Take some time today to review your goals for the coming year and compare them to the Word of God. The ones that lead to the fulfillment of our purpose in Christ will be successful if we rely on faith and hope to get us through with a whole lot of His Grace. Anything we attempt to do outside of the Power of the Living God inside of us is our religion and not beneficial in the slightest but everything surrendered to His Spirit will be productive. We have the potential to have an amazing, blessed and prosperous New Year according to God’s Plan for our life. Is He the One who we are after is the question? Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitude today while it is still today. He will lead us to the good life. The Lord will improve our standard of living exponentially and supernaturally filling all that is surrendered to Him! Let the Lord lead you in fasting and giving of your life. I want to remove every foothold the enemy has in my life by releasing the Power of God by finding more faith in Him and developing an even more confident hope in 2015. I do not want to grieve or bring sorrow to the Lord’s Spirit in any way and when I do may I be quick to accept and apply God’s Grace to my life. I don’t want to be religious just live in a beautiful relationship with my Lord and Savior – Jesus Christ. This is my New Year’s revelation…how about you?
Ephesians 4:23-32 (NLT)
Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil. If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.