The beginning of a new year can be a holy time of profound opportunity. Stretched out before us are months, fresh and unwritten as the blank pages of a new calendar. Waiting for us are experiences yet to be lived, adventures yet to be enjoyed, and blessings yet to be discovered.
Starting out with fresh faith.
There’s such possibility in the start of a year.
Some of us jump into all of this open possibility with the best of intentions and maybe even some resolutions and goals. We race into plans to organize, improve, shape up, slim down…or whatever happens to have made our list of goals.
But sometimes we can get stuck. Have you ever felt stalled, hesitating at the edge of all this potential? For some, possibility twists into pressure, when our eyes are on our failures and our ears are only listening to the critical voices that chatter in our heads.
New Year’s resolutions and goals can make projects of personalities, as if our true selves are something we must shape and mold to perfection with the right choices and greater discipline.
- Better eating habits
- Exercise more regularly
- Get up earlier
- Be more organized
- Be more patient
- Stop worrying
Goals and resolutions have value, but are we aiming for perfection rather than growth? When our goals become entrenched in fixing what’s broken and righting what’s wrong, good intentions can become a weight of condemnation hanging around our necks.
Is this the way God wants us to begin this year?
Over-focus on self-improvement can narrow our vision to faults, lacks, and mistakes. If you find yourself always making goals from a negative perspective, it may be time to try a new way of making goals.
Maybe it’s time to let go of a pass or fail mentality of measuring up and remember once again that we are saved by grace and filled with faith by the power of Christ. It may be time to rediscover the power of small changes and simple holiness wrapped in each day.
Fresh faith for your new year.
After all, this year is a significant portion in God’s plan for our lives. He can do a lot with 365 days, which is 8760 hours. So even though I am making goals for myself this year, I am embracing fresh reminders of God’s truth. I’m shifting my perspective from self-improvement to what God desires to work in my life this year.
This year, let’s break free from the get-it-all-together mentality, trusting God to work on what pleases Him.
Let these words refresh your focus:
It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for.
Long before we first heard of Christ,….he had his eye on us,
had designs on us for glorious living,
part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.–Ephesians 1:11 MSG
God’s design for glorious living–now that sounds like a fabulous year! His work is the truest source of fresh faith and holy living.
Oswald Chambers explains the importance of seeking God’s vision rather than our self-improvement plans:
“We simply begin to act on our own initiative. If we are eating only out of our own hand, and doing things solely on our own initiative without expecting God to come in, we are on a downward path. We have lost the vision. Is our attitude today an attitude that flows from our vision of God? Are we expecting God to do greater things than He has ever done before? Is there a freshness and a vitality in our spiritual outlook?” My Utmost for His Highest, May 9.
Let’s encourage one another to trust God to work His will and purpose in our lives. This is the nudge of fresh faith to remember.
For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.–Philippians 2:13 NLT
Fresh words to set your heart free.
Holiness comes as God gives us the desire and the ability (power) to do what pleases Him. So we can stop holding our breath and experience the God-rhythm of grace each day.
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:6 NASB.
Too often, I get side-tracked, wanting to be perfect, or at least the very best I can make myself. But perfect in this verse means to complete. This is the year to enter with confidence of fresh faith. Join Paul and proclaim with a joyful heart: I am confident because I know God is completing and working in me for His very good purposes. This kind of confidence changes the landscape of our hearts, freeing us from fear.
Friend, as you begin this year, take a little time to ask God to place His desires and fresh faith in your heart. Find delight in His presence knowing that His work in your heart is the work that is bringing everything together, holy and whole.
What’s one way you are trusting God to work in you this year? Love to hear from you in the comments!
This week I’m posting at Planting Roots: Strength to Thrive in Military Life. Do you struggle with spiritual distraction? I’m linking at Grace and Truth, Coffee for Your Heart, Monday Minute with God, #RaRaLimkUp, and Testimony Tuesday.
Come check it out:)
Just for you.
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