One of the wonderful things about vaulting into a new year is that we have the opportunity for new beginnings.
Out with the old and in with the new.
That applies to stuff as well as to our direction in life. We can push the internal reset button and decide to do things differently. We can get rid of the garbage that so easily weighs us down. We can liberate ourselves from emotional baggage. We can reset our attitudes towards people and try to look at them from a new perspective. We can chose to focus on those things that really matter and rid ourselves of things that are just a huge waste of time.
We decide to hit the reset button because we come to a place where we are not happy about things. I read a saying the other day that went like this. Doing things the same old way expecting different results is insanity. If something is happening in our lives that we do not like, then we must take the initiative to do things differently. Make a change no matter how small it is. Go a different direction. Do you have friends that are constantly negative and drag you down or depress you? Determine in 2014 to see less of them. Start associating with people who are positive and who will build you up and encourage you.
How about being overwhelmed by all of the political and religious noise on social media? If you are like me you get sick of hearing the same mantra over and over again. Ok, granted, the sky may be falling and the world may be going to hell in a hand basket. From where I am sitting the sky is still there and I am not personally responsible for the world going to hell in whatever contraption is being used. For that matter, I am not responsible for how anyone views the world with regards to faith or politics. I am solely responsible for my relationship with God the Father and how I treat my fellow man. I am not responsible for the decisions of others. Granted, there are times when those decisions do affect me but I can chose how much I allow those things to affect me.
New beginnings always means going back to the basics for me. What are the areas in my life where I always need to do a reset?
- My faith walk with God
- my church activities and responsibilities
- relationships with my family members
- relationships with my friends
- work responsibilities
- being a Godly husband and father
My faith walk with God is first and foremost in importance. In the new testament we know God’s word says Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. That means that my faith walk is directly proportionate to how much time I spend in the word. That is one of the main methods that God uses to speak to his people. I need to spend more time reading His word so that I can build my faith in Him. If I do not spend time in God’s word then how am I suppose to know or remember his promises? How am I supposed to get my direction for living? When I read God’s word I begin to develop a Christ view of the world around me and not a worldly view. I also need to surround myself with Godly people who hold the same faith values that I do.
My church activities and responsibilities includes but is not limited to being an active participant and servant in the local church. It has been said that no man is an island. We all need one another. We are all connected and we need to feel connected. When we begin to isolate ourselves and get out of fellowship at the local church we can become vulnerable to the things of this world. I know that there are people who believe that they can BE a Christ follower without setting foot in a church building. I understand that THE CHURCH is not the building but rather HIS people. How can we fulfill service and fellowship if we are never around HIS people? How many times have we heard people say they do not go to church because the church is full of hypocrites? Every time I look in the mirror I see a hypocrite. None of us are perfect and we are all broken people. If we were perfect people then we would not need grace.
As I think about myself and my faults and failures I can only imagine how difficult it must be for those around me to have a decent relationship with me. I believe that I am responsible for how I act around my family and friends. How can I expect people to treat me in a loving manner if I am not a person that allows this to happen. I have been accused of being an introvert. I am not a social butterfly. I do not like crowds. I do not automatically gravitate to social events but tend to shy away from them. One of my favorite sayings goes like this. “I can’t hear what you are saying because your actions are speaking too loudly”. It is one thing for me to say I love you and appreciate you but it is entirely another thing for me to DO THINGS to show you. Doing things to show them that you love them requires a certain amount of selflessness. It means that we have to consider what we say or how we say things and how it will affect others. If I do this or that, how is that person going to feel about it? Do I really need to speak my mind in this instance or should I just keep my mouth shut?
How does my faith walk with God reflect at work? Am I someone completely different at home and church and then act like a heathen at the office? I have always believed that if I say I am a Christ follower that I should act like a Christ follower. When people are around me do they experience the fruit of the spirit? Love , joy, patience, long-suffering, gentleness, kindness or meekness. No matter where I am at I should reflect the love, grace and mercy of God. I need to remember and realize that I may be the only Jesus that some of my co workers may see. What kind of example am I to my co workers?
Last but not least I always need to work on being a Godly father and husband. I am to love my wife like Christ loved the church and died for it. Am I willing to sacrifice my life for the good of my wife and children? Am I more interested in my own selfish needs? Am I being the type of example that my wife and children can model after as a Christ follower or are they looking at me thinking that I am not the example they need to follow? What is coming out of my mouth? Am I someone that encourages others and builds them up or do I say things that are negative and tear them down? The human tongue is the most difficult thing to control. Once a word is spoken it can never be taken back. People may forgive us for being thoughtless or cruel with our words but they will always remember them.
So, having said all of these things it will require some quiet reflection on my part. I need to be honest with myself but at the same time not get hung up in tons of self condemnation and beat myself up. I can chose to fix those things that are broken. I can change habits and make better decisions. I can chose to have a positive and more Christ like view of the world. I can pursue a closer walk with Christ through reading his word, prayer and fellowship with other believers.
Can you relate to any of these areas and if so how? What areas do you need to work on if any? Maybe we can be accountable to one another to make the changes that need to be made so that 2014 can be a better year.