As January comes to an end and we plunge headlong into February, I'm reminded that one month ago, many of us engaged in the tradition of making "New Year's Resolutions". Typically those resolutions consist of goals like losing weight, getting more organized, or achieving a better financial situation. Common resolutions for Christians would include attending church more often or growing in some area of spiritual maturity.
Now that we are one month in to 2014, I want to encourage you to continue in your effort to grow in your relationship with God, or to renew or even begin that effort afresh right now! It is so very easy to fall away from striving toward a goal at the first opportunity. Sadly, it's often supported and even encouraged by our peers and society at large! After all, you're only human, right?
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
If you're a Believer – a Christian – if you've been adopted into the family of God (1 John 3:1) and been given a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26), you're called to something greater than that. You're a child of God, made in his image. Act like it! Don't give up when you encounter inconvenience or discouragement. Your enemy loves to see Christians quit trying, give up, and stop growing.
But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
Now indulge me as I lay some exhortation on you:
- Please take a moment today to pray that God would strengthen your resolve, that he would motivate you to study and meditate on his Word, that his Spirit would give you the strength to be a Godly man, a Godly woman. Pray that by the grace of God you would persevere in your spiritual growth, your sanctification.
- If you have not been attending church regularly, renew your effort to do so. If you've not been attending a Sunday School class or Bible study regularly (either ours or another), renew your effort to do so. Pursue friendships with other believers and submit yourself to being accountable to them. There is so much blessing and joy to be had in engaging in deep, long-term relationships with God's people.
- Please pray for our class, our church, and our community, that we would ever be a people growing closer to God, and know that I often pray for you, too.
Let's not be satisfied with what the world tells us is "good enough". Let's strive to experience more of God's glory. His grace is not only sufficient, but abounding and overflowing.
That is all. Thank you for your time.