If you're like most people, you've probably made a few resolutions for the coming year. Perhaps, you'll lose weight, exercise more, watch less television, or spend more time with God. The problem with resolutions is that they're only skin deep. You make a proclamation and then you use your willpower to try to fulfill it. The Bible says that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Although our intentions are good, we lack the wherewithal or persistence to stick with our new year's resolutions for the long haul and within days, weeks, or even months we're right back where we started. Zechariah 4:6 declares "It's not by power, not by might, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty." It is through God's Spirit that we are to accomplish our purposes and goals. In John 15:5 Jesus tells us, "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing."
Acts 17:28 let's us know that, "In him we live and move and have our being and Philippians 4:13 says, "Through Christ we can do all things."
These scriptures demonstrate that the responsibility to change or to fulfill our desires (or resolutions) isn't based entirely upon our will but God's Spirit living in us.
God knows that we are weak, but in our weakness, he is strong. It is in our own frailty that we surrender and turn the reins over to God. When we acknowledge our weaknesses and inability to change ourselves and surrender ourselves to God, the architect and molder of our lives as well as our hearts, we become the clay in God's loving and wise hands. Therefore, our resolutions must change from seeking after a desired outcome to seeking after God.
We must begin to use our weaknesses to go deeper into God. All too often when we become restless or begin to fixate on what is missing in our lives and then we go on a desperate search to meet our needs, but this is like fishing in the dark. The children of Israel did this exact thing when they built a golden calf and began to worship it because Moses spent too long with God on Mount Sinai. They reasoned that Moses must be dead or that God wasn't concerned for them, when all the time Moses was petitioning on their behalf. Yet instead of trusting and resting in God's faithfulness, they tried to fill their inner void with a big party.
In Deuteronomy 8, God explained to the children of Israel saying, "He humbled you, 'causing you to hunger' and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live by bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord." That hunger that every Christians feels one time or another comes from God; however, God doesn't want us to fill this hunger with more people, situation, or things. Psalms 4:2 declares, "How long, O men, will you turn my glory into shame? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?" He wants us to fill this hunger with more of Him.
Jesus said, if we seek him first and exclusively, he will meet all of our needs and give us the desires of our hearts. In Matthew 6 we're told, "Do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans (unbelievers) run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."
We know that every good and perfect gift comes from God (James 1:17). Gifts are usually unexpected, they are selected based upon the likes and tastes of the recipient, and they are a blessing to the receiver. God wants to give all of his children every perfect gift that leads to health, wellness, contentment, wholeness, peace, joy, and purpose. But it comes through seeking after God with all your heart, soul, and strength and getting your own false ideas or assumptions out of the way.
There are no short-cuts to spiritual maturity and an intimate relationship with the Lord. God said that you will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart. If we really want to prosper, if we really want to change, if we really want God's best, and if we want God's good and perfect gifts, we'll need to "die to ourselves, pick up our cross, and follow Him." He will lead us in the right direction. And you'll find that the more you seek after God, the less these peripheral things will matter, for when we are full of God, there is not much room for anything false or fake.
Let whatever needs, resolutions, or desires that you have, cause you to go deeper in Christ. Use these 10 steps to go deeper in God this New Year.
1. Be still before the Lord and know that he is God and that he really does have everything under control. Learn to silence all thoughts and eliminate all emotions that pull you from resting under the shadow of the almighty.
2. Stop trying to fill your hunger and anxiety with things that can't satisfy. Instead, ask God to feel the voids in your life with his love, mercy, and grace.
3. Enter into God's rest. The Bible says that he can do exceedingly abundantly above what we can ask for or think. The only thing he needs from us is faith, trust, and obedience.
4. Keep your eyes on Jesus instead of your circumstances. The scripture says, "I will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed upon me." Jesus is the answer to every problem you are facing. Continually bring your attention back to his love, power, and faithfulness.
5. Meditate on the Lord day and night. Joshua 1:8 tells us that this is the surest way to success in God. Meditate on the word, meditate on his goodness, and meditate on his love. Spend time in God's presence, the place where we can touch the hem of his garment and be made whole. Use daily meditation to help you gain control over fearful or negative thinking and to bring every thought under the obedience of Christ.
6. Hide God's word in your heart. God's word is true and powerful and can't return void. Let his word be the fuel that drives you. Let the scriptures become the spiritual food that you crave.
7. Be filled with the Spirit. The scriptures say that if we are filled with the Spirit, we will not fulfill the lust and desires of the flesh. Give the Holy Spirit permission to live in and through you and be receptive to his still small voice in your heart.
8. Eliminate any attitudes or mindsets that grieve or limit the work of the Spirit in you life.Become an instrument of God's love. The Bible says that God is love, that love never fails, that perfect love casts out fear, and that we are made perfect in love. Want to become more like God, then let love motivate your every action.
9. Take every concern to God. The Word of God tells us to cast every care upon Him because he cares for us. Too often we will tell everybody but God our problems. But something supernatural happens when we turn every care over to God. He actually takes them and leaves us with his peace instead. A peace that passes all understanding.
10. At lastly, wait on the Lord. This means waiting on God through all the mental and emotional pain that you'll endure during this detaching process. Going deeper in God means listening to Him as he leads and guides you to wholeness and contentment, and most importantly, it means listening to the still small voice in your heart and crowding out or eliminating all the other voices that cause confusion, doubt, and fear.
The result of going deeper in God will result in a new you, a healthier you, a more joyful and content you. If you only have one new years resolution, let it be to surrender yourself more fully to the living and transformative power of God and to let him do the work he wants to do in you and through you.
Rhonda Jones is the creator of over 25 Christian meditation and affirmation Cds and the author of the Christian makeover program, Help Me God Change My Life and A Date with God. Learn more at http://www.thechristianmeditator.com and http://www.holyandhealthyliving.com.
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