As 2013 draws to a close and as 2014 is waiting to dawn, we all know the inevitable is coming. We all know that on January 1st we’ll make our New Year’s resolutions. We make them every year and many of them are incredibly noble: lose weight, eat better, read more, spend more time with family. We have the best intentions to keep these resolutions, but after a few months probably will have stopped pursuing these resolutions all together.
Even the understanding of the word “resolution” is tainted by the fact that we don’t follow through on the ones we make at every new year. The word itself means firm determination or deciding on a particular course of action. We make these resolutions seeking to be resolute, unwavering and passionate in pursuit of those commitments. May we as the church have that same unwavering commitment this year! I want to share with you guys a few items from Scripture the Lord has laid on my heart to fiercely pursue in the New Year. I pray that these may encourage you to do the same.
1) Stand firm in the faith
Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. ~ 1 Corinthians 16:13
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. ~ Galatians 5:1
The modern Christian can be stereotyped as passive in many ways. We have taken a reactionary approach to faith and life that we only pursue God when we feel we need Him. We are bold in our faith until it is no longer popular or politically correct to hold to a certain portion of a biblical worldview. We speak out against sin until we come to our own pet sin that we are trying to hide. May I hunger after His Word this year more than I ever have. May I be man enough to stand on His Word, even if it costs me something. May I life my life in a manner worthy of my calling in Christ.
being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. ~ Ephesians 4:3
The beginning of Ephesians 4 has the word “therefore” at the beginning of the chapter. That single word points us back to everything already penned in Ephesians and then calls us to action in the verses following. The beginning of Ephesians lays out the beauty of our redemption, that we are saved by grace, that we are entrusted with the marvelous honor to share the gospel and that we as the church are made to be family and coheirs with Christ. In view of that, we are therefore called to “being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit.” The interesting word in that verse is preserve. The unity is already existent to those in Christ. We are all sinners saved by grace. We are all submitted to the same heavenly Father. We don’t have to pursue unity as some sort of separate ideal as Christians, it is already there. I must let nothing damage the unity of the bride of Christ already there. My feelings, preferences, my own sin should not damage the unity of the body of Christ. May this year I seek to let nothing stand in the way of me loving my brothers and sisters in Christ. May I seek to come along side my brothers and sisters in Christ to take the gospel wherever life takes me.
As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” ~ 1 Peter 1:14-16
There are few commands that are as stark as “be holy, for I am holy”. May we no longer live in way where we find ourselves saying of sin, “How far is too far?” May the heartbeat of my life be, “How can I honor God with the day I have been given?” May I seek to put my sin to death, not accommodate it. May I not seek to see how much sin I can get away with, but seek to take up my cross and deny myself and to follow Him. May I ere on the side of passionate pursuit, not wounded wandering faith.
Bring it on 2014.