2) Making Any New Year's Resolutions?
Over the past few weeks, I've been scanning web articles about New Year's resolutions. They all sound pretty similar: "Starting January 1st, I'm going to shed those extra pounds." Or, "this year, I resolve to be kinder and less irritable." Or, "I'm going to take time to smell the flowers, clean out my closets, pay attention to the needs of my family, not yell at my kids, learn a new language, watch less TV and read more books." As followers of Messiah, we might add, "pray more, praise Him more, serve Him more."
There's the ideal . . . and then there's life, as it happens. Whether due to
over commitments, lack of organization, laziness, apathy, or selfishness, we often find ourselves making the same promises each year. There's a gap between what we aspire to and what we actually do. (Frazzled Perfectionists and Self-Appointed Martyrs take note: your aspirations and what God actually asks of you may be quite different--Yeshua is the only Savior.)
In our own strength, we can summon the resolve, working hard to keep the resolutions we've made (worldlings do it all the time). But as daughters of the King, we're not alone in our endeavors to lead godly, yielded, ordered lives.
Philippians 1:6; 2:12-13
". . . He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Yeshua HaMashiach. . . . Therefore, my beloved . . . work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure."
Though we have a Helper, we sometimes function as practical atheists, as though He doesn't exist. Maybe it's merely a case of momentary amnesia or that His words aren't embedded in our hearts. We forget His presence and promises--and the fact that we've been raised up--already--with Messiah, seated with Him in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6). Mind-boggling and heart-warming, isn't it!
Discipleship is a lifelong process. The words from Philippians remind us to soberly consider the work God desires to do in our lives. None of us can say we've "arrived" spiritually. There's always room to grow--to be conformed to the image of our beloved Yeshua. And it begins with submitting all areas of our lives to Him. It's a matter of our wills. If we're fighting that submission in a particular area, we need to ask "why?" What perceived need are we trying to meet on our own?
Any day is the right day for self-examination. Are we walking in the Spirit or in the strength of our own flesh?
As we begin a new calendar year, let's ask God to show us those still unyielded places. Let's ask Him to shine the light of His Ruach in our hearts. Let's ask Him to reveal His will for our lives in the coming months. And then, let's wait and be quiet before Him--stopping to listen for His voice. His plans are always good, always bring Him glory, always advance His Kingdom, and always lift up His Name.
Yeshua HaMashiach is the English transliteration of the Hebrew for Jesus Christ
Ruach is the English transliteration of the Hebrew for Spirit
© 2014 by NC Enterprises
Editor's note: This devotional was written by a Messianic Jewish friend. You may print it for your personal use or forward it to friends, freely. However, please do so without making any changes and include the copyright, above, as well as this paragraph. It may not be posted or published, either online or in print, without permission from SundaySchoolNetwork and the original author.