It is that time again! Another year is in the history books and people are ready to celebrate as we march into 2014. As usual, the beginning of a new year causes many to reflect on their life and new year’s resolutions begin to be announced. People want to see changes and understandably have a desire to start off the new year the right way! In the past these resolutions weren’t very successful but this time things will be different because you are determined like never before.
Here may be some things you want to change:
- Go on a diet.
- Exercise more often.
- Spend more time with family.
- Be more grateful and not complain as much.
- Go to church more often or start going period.
- Read your Bible and pray more.
In the first few weeks many do pretty well but quickly the stress and busyness of everyday life begins to cause us to lose the drive we had on New Years Eve. Before we know it we are right back into the same routine as the previous year. We tell ourselves that maybe next year will be different and then we repeat this cycle again. Does this sound familiar to you?
I believe that many also experience this consistently in their spiritual walk. They have “rededicated their lives” to Jesus over and over again but it never sticks and just like a New Years Resolution it leads to frustration and confusion. Many ask if it is possible to live consistently as a follower of Jesus or are we constantly on the roller coaster. The answer to that is actually yes! On the one hand life is like a roller coaster spiritually as we experience ups and downs because we are sinners. On the other hand we can grow and become more like Jesus everyday. So how do we maintain that drive and passion for Jesus daily and stick with a commitment to reflect Him in our everyday lives? Here are two principles we can apply:
1. Recognize our inability to live for Jesus in our own strength.
Following Jesus is not a resolution, it is an admission of our own inadequacy and need for Him. We must not just merely attempt to turn over a new leaf but repent and surrender our lives to Christ. This is a daily battle because we live in a culture that tells us to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps or to just try harder. To even pray goes against our nature because within that action we are admitting that we need God and we have to humble ourselves. Once we surrender all to Him, He will begin to work through us and we will see change. It’s not our strength but His.
2. It takes discipline and work.
About a month ago I had a guy ask me this question: “Trey how is it possible to maintain a passion and drive for Jesus? I had it once but I just can’t seem to get it back.” I simply responded by saying: “It takes work!”
I have always found it interesting how people will show up to the gym two weeks before going to the beach and expect immediate results. They then quit because they didn’t get those results. Anyone who is a weight lifter knows results happen over a long-term period of consistent, hard work. It’s the same with our spiritual walk. Surrendering our wants, desires, passions, dreams and plans to God on a daily basis is not easy and takes discipline. There are times when we aren’t going to feel like following Jesus. I wish that I could say that I get up early every morning with worship songs playing in my head and with a strong desire to read my bible but unfortunately that is not the truth. Sometimes I have to force myself to pray, pick up my bible and seek God even if I don’t feel like doing so. Like I already mentioned we must learn to recognize that in our own strength we may not have a desire to seek God today but it doesn’t matter. It is our responsibility to surrender our desires to Him; asking Him to replace our desires with His.
As we enter this New Year let us not merely plan to turn over a new leaf but repent and surrender our strength to Jesus Christ. Not just this year but on a daily basis. Let’s discipline ourselves so we can impact our families, friends and ultimately this culture! Happy New Year!