Are you a New Year's resolution maker? I'm not.
Over the years, I've found the tradition of vowing to change at the start of the New Year to be an exercise in disappointment. Every year, my diets fail, my habits stay the same, and my resolutions to do things differently fall flat.
Maybe that's because I've been focusing on the wrong things.
I'm feeling motivated to make changes that truly matter. I want the same for you.
There's nothing wrong with making the choice to be healthier or try new things at the start of a new year. But, this year I'm feeling motivated to make changes that truly matter. I want the same for you.
As I think about you, and what I hope for you in 2015, my thoughts keep circling back to the impact of God's truth. Most of you come to this site because you've already been exposed to God's truth in some way. But if you are like me, there is evidence in your life that that truth hasn't truly transformed the way that you live.
There's a difference between knowing God's truth and fully embracing it. I can't imagine the ways our lives would change if we chose to believe what God says in His Word and allowed that truth to change how we live. It's even more exciting for me to envision the impact we could have on other women by knowing God's truth, believing it, and putting it into action. That thought gives me goose bumps.
I'll help you get started. In the last chapter of Lies Young Women Believe, Nancy and Dannah list several powerful truths to counter everyday lies. I've turned a few of those truths into action steps for the New Year. Your job is to identify the areas of your life that are in need of a dose of God's truth and put that truth to work in your own life.
Ready? Let's choose truth together!
- I will praise God on good days and bad days this year.
"You are good, and what you do is good" (Ps. 119:68a).
When everything is going right, it's easy to believe that God is good and to praise Him because of it. But when life gets tough, we are tempted to question God's goodness and "forget" to praise Him. When your life gets messy, you can choose to believe God's Word rather than trusting your emotions and praise God in all circumstances.
- I will live like I am deeply loved this year.
"The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: 'I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness'" (Jer. 31:3).
Feeling unloved can have a huge impact on the way that we live. Specifically, believing the lie that no one cares about you can lead to depression, anxiety, and destructive behaviors. The truth is that you are deeply loved by God. If you believe God's love is real and receive it, it will transform your life.
- I will pay less attention to what others think of me this year.
"For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be pure and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves."(Eph. 1:4–6).
When a friend, a co-worker, or a loved one rejects us, it's easy to let that rock our world. It's also easy to get wrapped up in trying to please the people around us in order to avoid that rejection. But God's truth is that He chose you and loved you enough to adopt you into His family. Choosing to fully embrace that truth provides the perspective we need to be less concerned about what others think.
- I won't use stuff to make me feel good this year.
"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want" (Ps. 23:1).
God is enough to satisfy your needs. If you have Him, you have everything you need. Believing this truth allows you to stop trying to make yourself feel better by having the right stuff. You already have what you need.
- I will do what it takes to overcome a sinful habit this year.
"For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been freed from sin" (Rom. 6:6–7).
God's truth is that you do not have to sin, and every sinful pattern in your life can be overcome by the power of Christ living in you. That doesn't mean that overcoming sin doesn't often take work. You may need to confess your sin to a Christian friend or pastor, recruit an accountability partner, or remove a habit or relationship that has become a stumbling block in order to stop a sinful habit in your life. But God's Word promises that you can receive freedom. Believe that truth, and then do what is necessary to remove sin.
- I will embrace a God-sized challenge this year.
"I can do everything through him who gives me strength" (Phil. 4:13).
God has not commanded you to do anything that He will not give you the grace to do. That means, for example, that:
- there is no one you cannot love (Matt. 5:44)
- you can give thanks in all things (1 Thess. 5:18)
- there is no one you cannot forgive (Mark 11:25)
- you can be sexually pure (1 Thess. 4:3–4)
- I will accept responsibility for my actions this year.
"The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him" (Eze. 18:20).
You are responsible before God for your behavior, responses, and choices. You may not be able to control the things that happen to you this year, but you can control how you respond to the things God allows to come into your life. Making the choice to stop blaming others for the negative patterns in your life and to assume personal responsibility for your own choices will free you to obey God regardless of your circumstances.
- I will be more concerned about my holiness than my happiness this year.
"Be holy because I am holy" (1 Pet. 1:16).
Jesus didn't die so that we could live a life for ourselves and our own pleasure, but so we could be free to live a life that pleases Him. Pleasing Him will sometimes require sacrifices. But any sacrifice we make is temporary and cannot be compared with the joy and fulfillment we will gain in eternity. Only through seeking to be holy can we ever experience true happiness.
- I will add praise, thanksgiving, listening, and confession into my prayer life this year.
"For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son" (Rom. 8:29a).
God is more concerned about changing you and glorifying Himself than about solving your problems. With that truth in mind, a balanced prayer life should include more than just asking God to fix your problems. Work to build a relationship with God that is not strictly focused on asking Him to change your circumstances.
- I will focus more on Jesus and less on myself this year.
"He must become greater; I must become less" (John 3:30).
The truth is it's not about you; it's all about Him. The world was not created to revolve around you. It was created to revolve around Christ. This year, look for every opportunity to make your life more about serving Jesus and attracting others to Him.
Your life will be radically transformed this year if, by God's grace, you make the decision to: 1) know God's truth, 2) believe it, 3) act on it. How will you live out God's truth in 2015? Leave a comment and tell us which resolution you plan to put into action. We'll choose several of you to receive a 2015 Revive Our Hearts calendar.