We are over one week into a brand new year. A clean slate of 365 days to make our lives count. What choices have you made: is there something that you want to improve upon this year? Is there a group or event that you want to get involved in? Is there a fear you want to finally put aside and just jump in with both feet to try? Well, today we are talking about this year's goals. A goal is a realistic and attainable vision that has a timeline of accomplishment. Goals can be big, small, and they can even change as they progress. But the important thing that we want to talk about today is making sure that our goals and visions align with God's will. We should walk like Christ and make decisions with our eternal outcome in mind. We should do our best to walk upright every day, give joy and love to others, and be full of forgiveness and empathy. These are the characteristics that Jesus embodied as he walked upon our earth as a sinless human. These are also the characteristics that God calls us to seek out in ourselves, the attributes that He wants to refine in us to make us as close to walking in the image of Christ as possible. When it comes to allowing Christ to have a grasp on our hearts and our minds, we need to be in the Word of God. We cannot live our lives right or make sound choices if we are not breathing in Scripture of God's instruction book ,which gives us all of the answers of how to live a Christian life and what will reap the most abundant rewards not only in heaven but on this earth while we're here. So how do we do that, how do we live in God's will and reap rewards on this earth in a world that is so corrupt and twisted, but still focus on our eternal treasures we are storing up for heaven?
John 7:17 ESV "If anyone's will is to do God's will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority". In other words if you want to do God's will, you will read His Word. By doing this you will know what He wants for your life, what He finds acceptable and unacceptable, and what can hinder you having a relationship with Him.
Romans 2:12 MSG "If you sin without knowing what you are doing, God takes that into account. But if you sin knowing full well what you were doing, that's a different story entirely. Merely hearing God's law is a waste of your time if you don't do what He commands. Doing, not hearing, is what makes the difference with God". This is a very strong warning to us that if we are walking as Christians we need to make sure that our minds, our attitudes, and our behaviors mirror that of Christ. We can't read God's Word and ask Him to bless us and do His Will through us if we are knowingly doing things that are reprehensible and sinful to the flesh in His eyes. We cannot just read the Word and say we are Christians, we have to live the Word and breathe the Word every single day in our walk.
Romans 8:27 NIV "And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God's people in accordance with the will of God". When we pray to God and ask Him to make our heart like His and ask Him to help us be a good and wholesome person that serves and loves on others, He imparts His Will on us. If we truly love Our Heavenly Father and want to live out His plan for our lives, we need to fall into His plan. He knows all and can do a much better job governing our life if we give it over to Him.
Matthew 6:33 GNT "Be concerned about everything else with the kingdom of God and with what he requires of you, and he will provide you with all these other things". Simply put, put God first and make him the center of everything you do and everything you are, and He will take care of the rest. He will provide for you, He will find the perfect partner for you, He will show you how to have joy even in stormy circumstances. With God as your center, you can walk through fire without being burned or even carrying the slightest smell of smoke.
Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths". We all know this Scripture well probably, but it is one of my favorite in the Bible. It constantly reminds me that God's ways are always best. He sees the end whereas we don't even see 5 minutes in front of us. Who would you rather have making your decisions and choices and guiding your path...yourself and other humans that are just as clueless about the future and what their life holds, or our sovereign God who knows how our life ends far before it even begins?
Matthew 6:21 NLT "Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will be also". This reminds us to be careful of our actions and the way we treat others. It reminds us to be faithful, committed, kind, forgiving, loving, merciful, and graceful. Because whatever we consider as important, that's what holds our heart. If we consider this world and all of its torment and temptations as what we are focusing on and want to fall prey to, then that's where we store our treasures, that's where the pain and misery of our lives will be stuck when things fall apart. But when we have the desires of our heart aligned with God's will, that is where abundant life, joy in all circumstances, and assurance of eternity at Jesus' feet become a reality.
1 Corinthians 10:21, 31 AMP "You cannot drink the Lord's cup and the demons Cup. You cannot partake of the Lord's table and the diamond stable. So then, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you may do, do all for the honor and glory of God". This is similar to the Scripture stating that we cannot serve two masters, stating that we cannot do God's Work and then let money or other masters rule us on this earth. This is very black and white, the same as the words in the Bible. You choose to live worldly, or you choose to live for Christ. If you even dip a toe into Satan's side, you have no business serving the Lord. This may seem harsh, but God does this for our own protection. He knows how crafty and manipulative the enemy can be and that even the slightest little temptation we give into can cause our minds or our hearts to quickly become blackened and spread to the point that we fall far away from God and become people who are doing things that we will sorely regret and cannot take back. So let's focus on taking the Lord's cup, and being at the Lord's table. The one place that is preparing a mansion for us in heaven. I want the mansion, not this world. So let's make sure that this year we strive to make sure our goals are strongly grasped by Christ's attributes and characteristics. Then we can guarantee we will be making the right choices and living the best life possible for ourselves and others. Have a beautiful day sweet readers, & I will be back with you on Monday!