A brand-new year is here, and I am excited to see what the Lord has for us! Keeping Christ at the center of our thoughts takes a great deal of discipline and determination, but so does everything else we really care about. It comes down to how serious we are about knowing God and how willing we are to give Him the control of our life.
Matthew 22:37-38 gives us the meaning of life, “Jesus said unto him, thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.”
Most of the time we are so busy making our own decisions that we hardly ever consider about the distractions that cause us to drift away from Him. In the Book of Revelation, Chapter 2, He’s disappointed with how the Ephesians had left their “first love,” and today is a perfect time for us to examine our hearts and choose whom we will serve. Actually, the Bible contains many passages where God says He loves us and how much He wants to be with us. The incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection are all about restoring our fellowship with Him and living in the awareness of His presence.
At this time of year, we start planning our resolutions, and actually it’s a perfect time to start developing spiritual lifestyle changes. You notice I used the word “developing” because drawing closer to God is a process much like losing weight, exercising or any other type goal in which we are striving toward a goal. For example, eating a salad today is not going to automatically fix our weight problem, but it’s a positive first step and the same is true with learning how to live the Christian life. There have been many adaptations from the original Al-Anon credo that encourages everyone to be realistic about trying to change everything all at once, because we need to understand that personal transformation is a lifestyle that will require concentration and perseverance.
Philippians 3:14 says, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus” and reveals a vital condition that no one else can do this for us – this must be between us and God! It’s great to have long-term goals, and we should release our faith into accomplishing our destiny, but it’s important to focus on our mission one day at a time. It would be much better to go slow with permanent results than to rush and become overwhelmed with frustration and disappointment.
Another meaningful resolution would be to dedicate a few minutes each day to prayer. Daily Bible reading is another excellent place to focus our attention because the words of God are spiritual nourishment to our soul and will help fill our mind and heart with strength and confidence.
I recently recorded an 80-minute CD where I narrate over 100 encouraging Bible passages and includes several original songs that are filled with hope, joy and faith. This is a resource for those who want to fill their mind with God’s promises. Contact me and I would be honored to send you a free copy. May you live in the peace of His presence this coming year. “Father, in the name of Jesus, we acknowledge you as the ultimate authority of all things. You created everything and are in total control. Please give us courage to discipline our flesh and an extra measure of faith that we might become what you have called us to be, amen.”
DR. BILLY HOLLAND lives in Central Kentucky with his wife Cheryl, where he is a Christian author, outreach minister and community chaplain. To learn more, visit billyhollandministries.com.