Scripture of the Day:

Philippians 3:13-14, NLT

“No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven.” 

Hope Discovery of the Day:

We cannot fail in resolutions when we are making progress. 

Happy New Year, all!

It is pure joy for me to get back to writing my blog after a much needed reprieve to try to get my act together. Again. And hopefully (had to say that!) offer hope I have found in God’s word to help us to continue to press on in the goals Christ has set before us.

If you are like me, you might have a tendency to want to rebel against the word, “resolutions”. It can become our slave master and frankly, who wants to try to do something with our own willpower that we all know we will likely not reach? If we listen to thoughts like that from our flesh, though, we will go nowhere.

Unendingly walking on a treadmill hoping we can achieve something, we are standing in place unless we set goals and markers that are hard for us. Setting and achieving easy goals would not be as worthwhile as working toward goals that seem impossible. God shows up in the impossible. More than self improvement, resolutions are an opportunity to see God manifest through us as He accomplishes His purposes in us. Preparing the fields in our lives for the work of God, we partner with God when we step out to do hard things. It is in fact Him doing the work, not us.

As Christians, we have a higher motivation in our resolutions. God’s glory. This year I am asking God to cultivate His plans for me in my heart. I set some pretty big goals last year and God incredibly gave favor for some of those goals to be met. The ones that weren’t? They are on this year’s list. Unless, of course, the LORD revised and said, “let it go”. I almost don’t want to look at the goals as I write them down. It seems laughable. Like, what in the world am I thinking to dare to try that? But if we do not try, we will never know the joy of achieving our goals. And, I might add, the joy in not achieving some goals.

I have learned so many valuable lessons from just continuing to press on, despite what appears on the outside to be utter failure. What kept me pressing on was the truth that what we do is not in vain when we do it all for God’s glory. God was going to use my goal setting and working toward those goals somehow, whether I met them or not. And He has.

As I have quieted the noisy voices trying to dissuade my dedication to God’s calling, I have seen God develop something in me I never would have gained had I not had those goals: invaluable, precious character. Character earned when it seemed no one was looking. Character formed when I worked tirelessly to develop God’s purposes in me. Thank you, God.

New Year’s resolutions offer hope because God’s mercies are new each year. It is a brand new opportunity to live faithful lives for God. But what strikes me this year is that resolutions are not about us, after all. Resolutions are about walking with God. We cannot fail in resolutions when we are making progress. And there are so many wonderful lessons to be learned when we fall short of our goals that are all preparation for the greater work that God is doing in our hearts and in the lives of those around us.

As we walk with God and partner with Him by setting His goals for our lives, we get a front row seat and watch what God can do through us. Here’s to 2018 – may it be a year like no other in God accomplishing His purposes in our lives and in this world He so loved that He gave His only begotten Son to save it. Go with God this year, guys, and set goals for yourself beyond your ability. It will be worth it all.

Lord, thank You for dreams, visions and goals that You lovingly place in our hearts. You give us a purpose – to know You and make You known. May we be faithful in that purpose, and our small part in it. All for Your glory alone.

 

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