Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A Believer's New Year's Resolution

Every year, at this time, people make resolutions for the upcoming year. They vow to lose weight, quit smoking, make more money, etc. Many, if not most, of these resolutions are never kept. I would like to challenge Christians to make a resolution that they will keep; a resolution that will have eternal consequences.

Many Christians have been so influenced by the culture in which they live that they have become confused as to the difference between what the Bible teaches and what society says is right and wrong. Also, too many Christians believe that their political party’s agenda is a biblical agenda. It’s time that these believers returned to God, and His Word, to regain a clear picture of our responsibilities.

First of all, the Christian must detach himself or herself from the false ideologies of the world, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (I John 2:15 NASB). This does not mean that we are not to love the people of the world. It means that we are not to let anything hold a more important place in our lives than our relationship with God. When we let the ‘stuff’ of this world come between us and God, we are at risk of shipwrecking (I Timothy 1:19) our faith simply to indulge the pleasures, lusts, and desires of our sinful nature. Just consider what is considered morally right, by our society, today as compared with just 20 years ago. We are on a downhill slide into immorality.

Jesus clearly warned His followers about the powerful pull of the things of the world when He said, “And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful” (Matthew 13:22 NASB). We cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:13); if he does, his allegiance will be divided. Your relationship with God hinges on whether or not you, “...love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30 NASB; cf. Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 22:37; Luke 10:27).

We were created to live in a relationship with God where we live as He has determined. Of course, God has given us the choice to follow Him or to not follow Him; however, each of those choices comes with tremendous consequences. If we choose to reject God, and His will for our lives, we face the consequence of an eternity separated from Him and His love…in other words: Hell!!! However, if we choose to love and worship God as Lord and Creator of the universe, we can look forward to an eternity of life lived with the God who loves us enough to have sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on a cross for our sins.

In order to do God’s will, we need to know His will, “For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding...” (Colossians 1:9 NASB). The Bible says that those who do not know the will of God are ‘foolish’, “So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:17 NASB). So, how to we know the will of God?

“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12 1-2 NASB). The two-step process involved in knowing God’s will is this: first, realize that God is sovereign and deserves our worship. We are not the rulers of the universe (face it, we can’t even control our own thought life); we are to worship God, who is that Ruler. Second, we are to actively seek His will. This means that prayer and Bible study should be a part of our everyday life…God speaks clearest to us through these two methods.

So, in this new year (and forevermore), worship God and you will become all you were created to be. Those who choose to reject God and His will for their lives will never fulfil the awesome life God created for them. Christians, I urge you to make a resolution to know God, His Son, and His will, more fully this year…and forever.