A Fresh Start
People make all kinds of New Year’s Resolutions, but few people ever keep them. When I was planning for this past weekend’s message at church, I really thought about motivating people to live radically for Christ this year. In a message from Seacoast last weekend, their focus was on New Year’s Revolutions instead of Resolutions. That really stuck with me and resonated in my mind all week during my preparation. What would it take to live a revolutionary life for Christ? My brain is a scary place, but I wanted to share how this message came together. How do we make a fresh start? By focusing on our hearts, our opportunities, and our relationships!
For the youth, I have been posting about getting back to the basics. What I mean by that is that we focus too many times on actions and ignore the underlying beliefs and values. We ignore the heart. We have all this “head knowledge” about Christ, but too often it doesn’t change how we live our lives. If we allow that knowledge to seep in and penetrate the depths of our hearts, then we will see change happen naturally. May our hearts be strengthened (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13) so that we will live Holy lives for Christ. We strengthen our hearts by going beyond the do’s and don’ts, and by actually focusing on the why and how. By establishing a proper view of Christ in our hearts, we build the foundation to live a life that is pleasing to Him.
I have also just finished reading, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Pastor Mark Batterson. I definitely want to do a thorough review soon, but I almost wore out my highlighter when reading through the book. There are so many nuggets of truth to motivate and encourage you to take advantage of the God-given opportunities in your life that often come disguised as problems. The book draws on the story of Benaiah from 2 Samuel 23:20 when he chases a lion into a snowy pit and kills it. Most people would view a lion as a serious problem, but he took it as a God-ordained opportunity. The back of the book has the following quote, I think it is definitely a revolutionary statement for the new year, “What if the life you really want and the future God wants for you, is hiding right now in your biggest problem, your worst failure … your greatest fear?”
I posted last week about Billy Graham and the lessons he shared with Reader’s Digest. When I think about our relationships in the new year, I want to live in a way that honors God in everything I do and say. My final revolution is to focus on my relationships. I think Billy Graham’s advice is not only wise, but timely for the new year. It bears repeating again, so hear it is to think about one more time.
1. Make it your goal to live at peace with others.
2. Treat others as you’d want them to treat you.
3. Guard your tongue. Use it for good instead of evil.
4. Never repay evil with evil.
5. Avoid revenge. Don’t be a captive of the past.
6. Practice the power of forgiveness.