Monday, December 31, 2018

A New Beginning

With the new year almost upon us, many see New Years day as not simply the beginning of a new year, but as a new beginning for themselves. We see the reality of this by the many resolutions that people make on New Years. A New Year's resolution is basically a decision to do or not do something in order to accomplish a personal goal or break a habit. It comes at a time when people look back at the past year and make an effort to improve themselves as the new year begins. Unfortunately, statistics reveal that only 8% of people who make New Years resolutions succeed in keeping them. This means that 92% of all New Years resolutions fail. Why? Mostly, people make unrealistic resolutions and or they are not really prepared mentally to fight off doubt and continue with their goals. But what about believers? Should they make New Years resolutions? There is certainly nothing wrong with making New Years resolutions, but the same conditions that bring failure still exist, unless believers put their trust fully in the Lord.

The Bible tells us, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6) Even the Apostle Paul learned a lesson of trusting the Lord in a greater way while he was being buffeted by a messenger of Satan. The Lord revealed to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12: 9) Paul's response is quite interesting, "Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Corinthians 12:10)

All believers, like the Apostle Paul must rely upon God's grace to get them through every area of life not only New Years resolutions. A good definition of grace found in the Bible goes like this, "[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight." (Philippians 2:13 AMP) and, "Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]." (Ephesians 3:20 AMP)

Another area to consider is to fully know and understand who believers are in Christ; who Christ is in the believer; and how the Father sees them. When believers come to a full knowledge of these three things, they will understand what Jesus meant when He said, "nothing is impossible to those who believe." (Mark 9:23) Knowing these things sets believers free from shame, condemnation, guilt, unworthiness and inferiority. They will walk in a freedom that will cause them to not make resolution but to rely on God's grace to overcome and live victorious. For instance, the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul tells us, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ.." (2 Corinthians 5:17-18)  "Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin." (Romans 6:6)

The old nature, the old person that you were prior to your salvation is gone. The Bible shows us that God has not made any provision for the old nature but to crucify or executed it. You have been made completely new in Christ and have right standing with God. (Keep in mind that it is one's spirit, not their soul, ie, mind, will and emotions, and not their body that has been recreated) These things only come one way, "by grace through faith." (Ephesians 2:8) This mean, every believer one day must come to the place where their own faith has grown and has brought them to know without doubt, "Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him." (1 John 5:14-15) This is actually a realm of Christianity that few believers come to. Not because they do not desire to have this level of faith, but, it is mostly due to a lack of studying and meditating on God's Word which builds the believers faith and renews their mind. (Romans 10:17, 12:2)

When believers apply these things in their life it will change their behavior and thought patterns which in turn will cause them to have the desire and ability to accomplish the purposes and will of God. This is grace in action. These things are not self imposed, but Holy Spirit inspired. The Apostle Paul tells us to, "...Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." (Galatians 5:16) So you see we do not have to make New Year resolutions to only have them fail. We can live in the power, favor and ability, the grace of God, everyday through faith in Jesus Christ to overcome every obstacle of life and do the impossible where others may fail. So this New Years, do not make a New Years resolution per se, but, "...lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of you." (Philippians 3:12) My prayer for you, as the Apostle John said, "Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers" (3 John 2) Have a safe and Happy New Year...  

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