“So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NLT)
It’s the same story every January. Gyms are filled with people recommitting to exercise. Health food companies’ profits skyrocket, as dieters rush to purchase healthier food options. We feel compelled to pledge new dedication to our goals and dreams. The New Year seems to bring along a thread of new hope and endurance to our December-weary bodies.
As I retreated to pray on New Year ’s Eve, a wave of questions danced across my mind. What would my objectives for 2014 be? How could I be more effective for God’s kingdom?
“What do You want me to concentrate on, Father?” For several minutes I prayed for direction. And as I silenced, this question popped in my mind: “How will you look like next December?”
I knew it, instantly – the task ahead of me this year would not require more time in the gym. It would not require more writing or more serving. His main resolution for my year involves transformation. Life-changing, Heaven-driven heart transformation.
It dawned on me that most people’s New Year’s resolutions (including my own in the past) have usually little or nothing to do with God or His work. Rather, they usually focus on satisfying the imminent year with good things and betterment of self.
There is nothing necessarily wrong with seeking to improve our quality of life or fulfilling our dreams. However, there is a very specific task ahead of the believer at the dawn of each day, which is often overlooked: more than looking better or accomplishing more, our main goal should be to become more like Jesus. Be His hands and feet in the world more often. Stand up and stand out more. Be bolder. Brighter. Holier.
To become more like Jesus. Now that’s a New Year’s resolution!
Should the world… no, wait! Should all believers set this up as their highest goal for the New Year, what kind of impact would we make in society?
Choosing to offer the other cheek to the co-worker who tried to undermine your project… (Luke 6:29)
Forgiving someone who has hurt you beyond words… (Colossians 3:13)
Watching each word of condemnation… of discouragement… or gossip… (James 3:8-11)
Waiting on God’s timing for the right relationship… (Psalm 37: 7-9)
Being watchful and reprimanding prideful thoughts and selfish ambitions… (James 3:14-16)
Choosing to trust God in the midst of each trial… (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Withholding anger… bitterness… hateful words… (Ephesians 4:29)
Ouch. All of a sudden, hours on the treadmill and dieting seem to be an easy task, right?
Indeed, although we are fully equipped to live holier lives, we often choose not to. We may settle for old behaviors instead of relying on the transforming power of His Word. We may choose to take the reins of our lives, instead of waiting on His promises. We may choose to pay back instead of extending grace. We may decide to wave angry fists at God when things do not go as we planned, instead of trusting that His ways are higher, better and bathed in perfect love.
All along, the Holy Spirit within us cries out for MORE. More time with Yahweh. More acts of kindness. More of His Fruit. More of Jesus’ character in us and through us.
So I present to you a challenge this day:
It’s January. We have twelve months ahead of us. More than focusing on how much better we will look or how much more accomplished we will become, how about you and I choose to walk so close to Jesus this year, that His glory will radically transform us? How about we so exercise our spiritual muscles through reading His Word, listening to His voice and obeying His will, that we will finish 2014 looking stronger and more successful than ever?
I choose Jesus as my highest goal this year. How about you?
He is the only New Year’s resolution that will certainly never fail us.
Verses to Meditate Upon:
“Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” 1 John 2:6
“Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:2
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2