Well, this is the first week of February and reality has set in. The health clubs are clearing out, the treadmills are gathering dust, and the diet is done. Millions of people have discovered that resolutions are a lot easier to make than they are to keep. If the researchers at Forbes magazine are right, by Valentine’s Day most of our remaining resolutions will be ancient history.
But for the child of God, that’s not a problem. God doesn’t limit fresh starts to New Year’s. Every day offers a new beginning. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning, great is thy faithfulness!” Lamentations 3:22, 23. That’s good news.
But no matter how your January has been, let’s look at 3 principles or practices to help us keep going in 2020 when everything seems to be saying, “Stop!”
Remember Who You Are
Paul reminds you in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that regardless of your feelings, if you are in Christ you are a new creature. And Romans 8:1 goes on to encourage us that, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
One of the Devil’s missions is to distract you from recognizing who you are in Jesus Christ. He wants you to focus on what you do, rather than who you are in Christ. Obedience is critical to your Christian growth, but it must be done the right way and for the right reasons. If not, the Devil will have you on a depressing treadmill. You will be working for something you either already have or that God offers for free.
These are some things the Bible says I am right now in Jesus Christ:
- I am complete- Colossians 2:10
- I am forgiven- I John 2:12
- I am redeemed – Revelation 5:9
- I am chosen – Colossians 3:12
- I am justified – Romans 5:1
- I am a joint heir with Christ – Romans 8:17
As we move through 2020 we have to remember that we are who God says we are. At times our feelings and even our “friends” might say something different, but don’t be fooled. Galatians 3:1 puts it in even stronger terms. Don’t be bewitched!
Get Out Of Your Way!
Romans 13:14 counsels us to stop, “making provisions for the flesh.” Stop feeding your bad habits. Stop tripping yourself up. Stop blaming the Devil for doing what you’re doing to yourself! The person who is sabotaging your spiritual success may very well be that man in the mirror.
Here’s how it works. It’s clear that certain foods, sounds, smells, people, places, or things, consistently cause you to stumble. Rather than pleading with God to resist the temptation, why not put as much distance between you and the temptation as possible. Get it out of the house. Get it out of the refrigerator. Get it out of your laptop. Get them out of your life. Because as long as they are available the temptation will be strong.
Ellen White gives great counsel here.” It is an important law of the mind…. when a desired object is so firmly denied as to remove all hope, the mind will soon cease to long for it, and will be occupied with other pursuits. But as long as there is any hope of gaining the desired object, an effort will be made to obtain it!”
Mind, Character and Personality Vol. 2 pg.419
There it is! If you can get to it, you will. So, take the temptation out before it takes you out.
Have Faith In God
The late Andre Crouch used to sing, “I’ve Got Confidence. God is going to see me through. No matter what the case may be. I know He’s going to fix it for me.” That’s faith. We have to believe that God will do what He promised He’ll do. 2020 will have ups and downs but God is a constant. Philippians 1:6 is true, “…he who began a good work in you, will be faithful to complete it.” Believe that.
Let’s close with my favorite quote this month and please let me know what you want God to do for you in 2020. How can we pray for you?
“God is disappointed when His people place a low estimate on themselves…They may expect large things if they have faith in His promises.” Desire of Ages 657
By Dr. Jesse Wilson