Here we are about three weeks into 2016 at that crucial time where countless people are finding their resolve for their New Year’s resolutions either waxing or waning. The New Year is a time when we reflect on the past 12 months and tend to ask ourselves if our life got closer or further away from our ideal. It’s a time we assess our habits and behaviors and look to see what changes we need to make, and it’s a time most can muster up enough motivation to get started and say, “This will be the year!”
Every year, many people find themselves making one of two of the most common resolutions: To make more money and better their career, or to lose weight and get in better shape. Sadly some have made the same resolutions so many years in a row that they have stopped even attempting resolutions, knowing that all of their “resolve” has simply “dissolved.”
If you find yourself still full of motivation, convinced you can continue your diet or savings plan this year, develop that new skill or drop that bad habit, I hope what I can share will fan the flames of ambition. If perhaps after a couple of weeks you already feel the tug of complacency and apathy pulling you backwards, I pray I can provide some additional motivation from God’s word to help you persevere.
No matter what we have sought to accomplish this year, the word we must all seriously consider to find true and lasting motivation is the word STEWARDSHIP. Stewardship by definition is “an ethic that embodies the responsible planning and management of resources,” or simply, “the activity or job of protecting and being responsible for something.” God’s word says that our lives are not our own and it is our duty and responsibility to be good stewards of our bodies and our lives since both are gifts from God.
“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Honoring and glorifying God in our body and spirit means we must take careful consideration to how we care for ourselves physically and spiritually. In the same way we can damage our bodies by making poor food and lifestyle choices, we can also defile our spirit by setting “wicked things before our eyes,” (Psalm 101:3) or by constantly dwelling on destructive thoughts and feelings that are contrary to God’s word. (Philippians 4:8)
“If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.” – 1 Corinthians 3:17
Paul urges us to “present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God” and says it is our“reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1) This means it is a conscious decision we must make to be obedient and to worship God in this action. These simple exhortations made by the Apostle Paul in the fore mentioned scriptures should provide ample motivation and perspective for the believer to stay the course on their new line of actions started with their New Year’s resolutions. Whether they deal with health and fitness, the elimination of bad habits or the creation of good ones, meditating on the fact that our bodies our not our own, were bought with the blood of Christ and that we are to be good stewards of God’s gift, should be a game changer.
If our resolution deals with finances, some study of the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) should remind us that our earthly wealth should mainly be used for His kingdom purposes and we should live accordingly. If our resolution is career-focused we must remember that no matter what we do we must“do it heartily, as for the Lord, and not for men.” (Colossians 3:23) No matter what, our focus should not be on just bettering our lives for selfish ambition, but to glorify God, to better represent Jesus and to use our lives to serve and help others.
“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:” – 1 Peter 4:10
I pray this message can aid you in making the tough changes God wants you to make, they won’t always be easy, but they will always be worth it. Ultimately let us all remember that we are simply clay in the Potter’s hands, God knows what He is doing with our lives and we should surrender to allow Him to bring things we have hidden in the darkness to light so we can be made into His image for His glory.
“Jesus explains things to us as we are able to understand them. We can only be used by God after we allow Him to show us the deep, hidden areas of our own character. We have to get rid of the idea that we understand ourselves. That is always the last bit of pride to go. The only One who understands us is God.” – Oswald Chambers
What are the hidden areas of your character, God is trying to work out in your life? How might these areas be reflected in the habits your resolutions address? How can you better use God’s truth to create lasting change?