Now, I dont know about you, but when it comes to new years celebrations, all I can say is….. yaaawwwnnnn; ho hum. Whats the big deal anyway?
I am just not a new years eve fan. All the hullabaloo about an outrageously expensive ball dropping seems to leave me a little dismayed – it is simply the turning over of another day in another month on another calendar, for goodness sakes!
In that same mindset, I try not to get caught up in making new years resolutions, because I know that even the best intentions with the greatest motivations will fail, if in our hearts, we are not truly committed to your goal.
Although there are lots of areas where I could come up with valid resolutions, the most important thing I want to work on this year, is my relationship with Christ. I know that as my relationships flourishes, everything else in my life will follow suit, including my relationships with my husband, children, friends, attitude, joy, and so on.
And secondly, I so want to live in the center of Gods will this year.
Yesterday morning at church, our pastor was talking about this subject, and God spoke to my heart about what it really means to live in Gods will.
Three and a half years ago, I left my career in the corporate world to be a stay at home mom, with the hopes of becoming a Christian speaker and writer, which I felt God had called me to. He confirmed that calling by opening many doors for me , and soon after I was given the amazing privilege of becoming a part of Proverbs 31.
Since then, I have felt like I was living out Gods will for my life. But after hearing yesterdays sermon, I began to doubt that. I found myself thinking …….am I truly living out Gods will for my life? Was quitting my job and serving in ministry really all God wants from Tracie? Was I doing what God expected of me every day? Then we read the following verse.
Romans 12:1-2 says this, ” Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.” (NIV)
I started really thinking about what a living sacrifice is. I sat in the church pew, wondering whether or not God would agree with my opinion of whether or not I am fully living in His will. Hmmmm. I came to the quick conclusion that His answer would most definitely be a big fat obvious NO.
So, going against my typical anti-new years resolutions-making-attitude, I made a resolution. To try to live out Gods will for my life this year – not just in actions with great intentions and a true love for God, but in my full heart, with persistence and hope, and a desire to be molded and changed.
The Bible makes it very clear how we are to offer ourselves as living sacrifices to Christ. The instructions are clear, but the task is daunting.
We have to die to our prior selves. We have to give up the things we like to do, to do the things that God likes for us to do. We have to commit to stop doing things, or behaving in ways that are not pleasing to God, and seek strength in Him to begin a process of change. A process of change that will not be easy, but that will be so rewarding when we see changes in ourselves that are pleasing to Christ, through the work that we are allowing Him to do in us.
I came across an anonymous writing about being a living sacrifice, which is below:
“When you are forgotten, neglected, or purposely set at naught, and you don’t sting or hurt with the oversight, but your heart is happy being counted worthy to suffer for Christ………..That is dying to self.
When your good is evil spoken of, when your wishes are crossed, your advice disregarded, your opinion ridiculed, and you refuse to let anger rise in your heart or even defend yourself, but take it all in patient, loving silence;…….That is dying to self.
When you lovingly and patiently bear any disorder, any irregularity, any annoyance; when you can stand face to face with waste, folly, extravagance, spiritual insensibility, and endure it as Jesus did……..That is dying to self.
When you are content with any food, and offering, any raiment, any climate, any society, any solitude, any interruption by the will of God….That is dying to self.
When you never care to refer to yourself in conversation or record your own good works or itch after commendation, when you can truly love to be unknown……That is dying to self.
When you can see your brother prosper and have his needs met, and can honestly rejoice with him in spirit and feel no envy, nor question God, while your own needs are far greater and you are in desperate circumstances…..That is dying to self.
When you can receive correction and reproof from one of less stature than yourself and can humbly submit, inwardly as well as outwardly, finding no rebellion or resentment rising up within your heart…..That is dying to self.
Dying to self. Yikes. Sounds hard! It is! But I have made a covenant with God today to try to begin this process. Trust me, I know I will fail in many ways, every single day, but just like the beginning of a new year is fresh and new, inspiring us to improve and make changes in our life, I know that each and every day is a new day in Gods eyes, and that by the sacrifice of His son, that I can start with a fresh clean slate each morning.
So what does God really want? He simply wants our hearts to be full of Him, trusting Him, and for our lives to be a manifestation of His will – a life that is handed over to Him, so that He can do with it as He wishes. So that He can transform us to be a light for Christ.
He is calling us to a life of sacrifice and service. Luke 22:42 says, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (NIV) That is a hard pill to swallow at times – our will normally drives our actions; but God desires to hold the steering wheel of our life instead of us. His will, not ours.
Do you want to make a resolution that really matters this year? Do you want to set aside the earthly resolutions about weight loss or money changes, and commit to a covenant with God to become a living sacrifice? If your answer is yes, I invite you to pray this prayer with me:
Lord, today I pray that you give me the strength, perseverance and desire to be more like You. To put aside my selfish desires, and focus on others, even if it means a sacrifice for me. I pray that you begin a process of molding me Lord, of helping me to more patient, loving, and kind with my children and my husband; to recognize when my children need extra hugs and kisses instead of scolding; to discipline with love and not anger; to remember to be grateful every day; to reach out to those in need; to try to respond to all situations in a way that would please you and not in a way that I am accustomed to doing. Not just a heart change God, but a life transformation. Teach me Lord, how to be a living sacrifice for you. Bestow grace and mercy upon me as I stumble through this journey, but know my heart Lord. Your will, and to be like You, is my true desire. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
So is the new year really a big deal? It depends on how you look at it. As I consider all the exciting things that I pray God will do in my life and through me this year, I have to admit, I am getting excited! As I imagine how my children can grow spiritually, how my marriage can be strengthened, how my faith can grow and how my trust in God can deepend, I am getting excited!
What makes the new year a big deal, is not resolutions, parties and balls dropping in Times Square, but that we can see it as a fresh start, and a first step to a stronger and more empowering relationship with Christ, so that all in due time, Gods Will be done, and we can have a part in carrying it out for His glory.
If you want to join me in this quest to seek Gods will for your life, and His ways in your life, in this new year, leave a quick prayer request in the comments and I will pray for you. I pray in turn that you will also pray for me.
I will be talking about Gods will all of this month, and I invite you to join me.