What is it about a new year that makes us all want to call for a massive "do over"? We collectively vow to shed a few pounds, save a few pennies, and ditch the nasty habits that plagued us the year before.
Resolve to put God's Truth into action.
But year after year most of us fail to hit the marks we set for ourselves. According to one university study, only 8% of people are actually successful at achieving their resolution.
Despite our best intentions, why do we so often fail at reshaping who we are?
Maybe it's because we're so focused on self-improvement that we miss the transformation that only comes from God's Word.
In John 8:31–33 Jesus wrote about it this way, "So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, 'If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'"
The root of most of our resolutions is the desire for freedom. We want freedom from the things that stress us out, freak us out, or make us feel less than. Jesus says that the key that unlocks the door to freedom is the Truth, not another fifteen minutes on the treadmill or another trip to the container store.
So this year let me encourage you to resolve to put God's Truth into action. I'll even get you started. In Lies Women Believe Nancy wrote about twenty-two life-changing Truths rooted in God's Word. I'll turn those Truths into action steps over the next few days. Before we dig in, let me pass along some advice Nancy gave in the book,
"Rather than skimming through [these posts], let me encourage you to take time to savor these liberating, life-changing Truths. Say each Truth aloud—again and again and again—until your thinking becomes aligned with God's way of thinking. You may even want to memorize the list, along with the key Scriptures that correspond to each Truth."
Now that's a plan we can stick to! Ready? Let's choose Truth together.
The Bible promises that God is good. Whether or not it feels like it in the moment, God is good. He has good things in store for those who love Him.
"The Truth is, regardless of the circumstances, regardless of what we feel, regardless of what we think, God is good, and everything He does is good" (Lies Women Believe).
How would it change things for you if you resolved to hold on to the Truth that God is good in 2014?
Most of our typical New Year's resolutions can be traced back to insecurity. We want to be set free from the things that make us feel less than. We-want to be thinner, more organized, or have more money in the bank in order to feed our ever-craving egos. But we do not have to seek love and acceptance from others. God declares His deep, enduring, and everlasting love for each of us in His Word.
The reality of God's love can free us from the need to look for love and acceptance elsewhere.
"Because God is good and loves us perfectly, we can be confident that He longs for us to experience all the joy in life He designed us to know. He knows we will only find this true and lasting joy and fulfillment in Him. He loves us so much, He insists that we come to Him, where alone we can be fully satisfied" (Lies Women Believe).
God does not accept you because you have quiet times every morning, volunteer often in your church, or avoid certain types of sins. This year, you can worship and serve God out of an overflow of gratitude for His acceptance in Christ instead of as an attempt to earn His favor.
"We don't have to jump through all kinds of spiritual 'hoops.' In fact, there is not one thing we can do to make ourselves acceptable to a holy God. Yet we—fallen, condemned, unworthy sinners—can stand before God clean and unashamed, accepted in His sight. How? Because Jesus—the pure, sinless Son of God—is acceptable to Him, and we stand in Him" (Lies Women Believe).
Make a list of the things you do as a part of your Christian walk. Ask the Lord to reveal if there is anything on that list you are doing as an attempt to earn His favor and acceptance. Then ask Him to help you recalibrate with the knowledge that you are already accepted.
These are just a few of the things that I tend to look to to meet my deepest needs to feel safe, valued, and worthy. But only God can truly meet those needs. When I look to anything else to satisfy, I find my longings unfulfilled.
"The Truth is, if we have Him, we have everything we need for our present peace and happiness" (Lies Women Believe).
What did you look to for satisfaction in 2013? Resolve to shift your eyes to Christ to meet those needs in the year ahead.
- I will believe that God is good (Ps. 119:68, 136:1).
- I will be confident because of God's love (Rom. 8:32, 38-39).
- I will stop trying to earn God's acceptance (Eph. 1:4–6).
- I will stop looking to _________________ to satisfy my needs (Ps. 23:1).
- I will learn and believe God's promises (Isa. 28:16).
God can be trusted.
That's a statement that most of us know we should agree with, but the way we live our lives indicates that we're not sure He will keep His promises to us.
Make it a point to study all that God promises you in His Word. Find ways to memorize His promises (notecards, write them on your bathroom mirror, download a Scripture memorization app so that you can move from head knowledge about His Word to believing what He says with all of your heart.
"God keeps His promises. He has promised never to leave or forsake us (Heb. 13:5). He has promised that those who trust in Him will ultimately be satisfied. From time to time, I have to remind myself: ‘God has never once let me down—and He's not going to start now!'" (Lies Women Believe).
We'll focus on five more action steps rooted in God's Truth tomorrow. Until then, I'd love to hear from you. Which of the action steps from the list above do you most need to put into practice? Where do you need freedom in the year ahead?