As I go into this year I am aware that what I need to do is what I know I should already be doing.
God has told me quite clearly…
- What I should be: A person who desires, above all else, to live a life that brings God joy.
- Where I am to begin if I do not want to sin: Thy Word have I hid in my heart, that I may not sin against thee
- What I should do: Good works which the Lord has prepared for me to do
- Which of the 10 commandments I should keep: All 10
- How is sin defined: Doing what is not pleasing to the Lord. God does not distinguish between BIG SINS – little sins
- How I should be: A person who demonstrates the fruit of the spirit: Love, joy, peace, gentleness, meekness…
- How I should think: on whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy
- How I should forgive: 7 X 7, keeping no record of wrong – as God has forgiven me
- How I should work: Do it with all my might.
- How I should love: With the same continual, unconditional love God loves me
- How I should invest: Not to lay up treasures on earth, but by laying up for myself treasures in heaven
- How I should give: Freely
- How I should take care of my body: As His temple
- How should I live during this next year? Doing what I know I should do, every time.
I know that everything the Lord asks me to do is for my own good – and none of what God asks me to do will be in conflict with God’s other guidance for me. To have a great year I must simply discipline myself to be God’s man.
So what brings this into focus as we enter this New Year?
I know I am a sinner – in thought, word, and deed. Only I know the extent of my sinful thoughts – and though I know I am often not evidencing the Fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control – there are also many times that I am not aware that I do not demonstrate this fruit. Even though my sins are forgiven, even though I have the guidance of and the enabling power of the Holy Spirit, I struggle not to sin,
Much of what happens in the world is clearly in conflict with what God tells us humans to be, to do. Nevertheless, the Bible cautions me about being critical of another person (judge not), it encourages me to reach out in love, compassion, and forgiveness. Sadly, even knowing my own struggle not to sin, I find it so easy to be critical of another person because of what I think are the other person’s sins. Thus I sin in my desire to “set another right!” The Bible tells me that if a brother offends me, I am to go to him, one on one. In reality, I seldom do this. I believe we are to proclaim God’s truths, but this is different from trying to convict another of sin – perhaps a fine line. I do not think there is a place in the Bible where I see demonstrated or taught that I am to try to convict another person of sin – or to try to control society.
In 2009 I will again work to live my life as Jesus Christ would have me live as defined by the Bible and the Holy Spirit, who never leads contrary to the Bible. I will again work at helping other’s know God’s way for us humans to live. I will seek to encourage those who know God’s way, to live God’s way. I hope not to spend time being critical of others who do not know, or chose to ignore, God’s ways for humankind.
I live as a forgiven sinner. I must focus on managing myself through the power of God’s spirit.
“How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.“ –Luke 6:42
My challenge, our challenge, is to go into the new year, 2009, prayerfully committed to Living In Partnership With God.