At this time of year people begin to feel conscious of their over indulgence during Christmas. It is a time to consider a change of diet. Reducing calories. Eating more veg.
It is also atime for reflection on the year as it ends, and a time to look forward to a new year, a new start, fresh slate.
For some people this is a positive experience filled with happy memories and bright expectation. For others it is a very negative time full of regrets and hopelessness.
Following the principle of “Kingdom first” though, any reflection should first and foremost be spiritual.
What indulgences have I had this year? What worldly habits or temptations have I succumbed to? Things I know are “bad” for me, that make me “fat” in the ways of the world? What harmful thoughts do I need to stop feeding myself?
Just as going on a diet is not the way to get fit and lose weight (we don’t really need the experts to tell us that they don’t work, don’t last, and don’t make lasting change!) but instead one must make lifestyle changes, tackle habits and triggers for poor eating choices in order to make changes that are permanent, so it is with our spiritual health. If you are making poor choices on what to feed your soul – who you hang around with, what you watch, what you read, what you are focusing on, the actions you take – then a “diet” of some guilt based fast, a “giving up” is not going to help.
You need to look at what makes you vulnerable to those bad choices. You need to look at feeding yourself with “whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report” (Phillipians 4:8 MEV).
Focus on the right things rather than trying to give up the bad. That’s the Kingdom way. The Holy Spirit convicts of righteousness not sin (John 16:8)
Look at your spiritual “activity” levels. Are you lazy? Do you make an effort to pursue the things of God? Are you active in your church? In your community? Do you use your gifts or have you buried your talents in the ground rather than take the time and energy – and risk – to use them and therefore multiply them (Matthew 25:14-28)?
What spiritual lessons can you take from this year and how can they guide you in the new year?
Look back on the ways God has worked in your life throughout the year. See how He has turned all things to your good – and be honest enough to see where you have stopped Him from doing that by your wilful actions. Those times when, if you are honest, you knew you were going against His best plan and purpose and stepped out from under that covering promise.
Let’s before God over the next few days with our honest evaluation and ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate any areas we have missed.
Lay it all before Him and just spend time with Him, letting the Holy Spirit minister to you, to the hurts, the pains, the disappointments.
Let God have those desires of your heart, the hopes and dreams for next year.
Lay down the burdens and let go of the things that have been holding you back. Write it out if that is it what works for you, or speak it out.
Instead of making New Year resolutions, make a list of Scriptures that proclaim God’s promises over your life and consciously purpose to start 2016 firmly holding on to them. Have a list of 10 Scriptures and resolve to confess them and stand on them in faith. I can promise you that that will be a far more powerful and effective way to make changes in your life that any resolution!
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be given to you” (Matthew 6:33 MEV).