To 8 New Year’s resolution list. Lose weight, spend less and pay off cards, save money in the bank, finish a project, get more organized, enroll in an on-line program, learn new skills, get Covid 19 shot to travel. Friends, all these things are good, but there’s one important thing missing – nurturing our relationship with God. Today, as we start a brand-new year, I’m proposing several important things that would help in nurturing our spiritual life.
1. “I must resolve to follow the examples of Bible witnesses.”
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3.
· The “great cloud of witnesses” in Hebrews 12 verse 1 was a reference to Old Testament believers mentioned in Hebrews 11.
· The life of the Old Testament people stand witness to God’s salvific plan of saving people by grace through faith in His Word.
· Today, this great cloud of witnesses of God, includes Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, James and Paul. They were first-hand witnesses of the Lord.
“16 For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.” 2 Peter 1:16.
· The lives of this witnesses have encouraged us to, “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.”
· This sin refers to the sin of pride and unbelief because they hinder us from coming to Jesus for salvation.
· To qualify for the race, one must repent and receive Jesus for salvation.
· The believer’s life is likened to this race, whose only price is Jesus.
2. “I resolve to run the race and persevere in the faith because Jesus is my strength.”
Hebrews 12:2, “2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”
· The race is not about competing with one another. The race is about focusing and following the Lord!
· The race is about faith, love and obedience to Jesus.
· The ultimate price is Jesus.
· Thus, we never give up, nor lose hope, but run with perseverance.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” the Philippians 4:13.
3. “I resolve to make Jesus my only prize.”
“3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:3.
· When we glory in ourselves, our achievements, and success, then we stumble in the race.
· The only way to overcome this life is to make Jesus as the only reason for everything we do in this life.
“7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ… 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings,becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrectionfrom the dead.” Philippians 3:7-11.
· The ultimate purpose for living is not to gain material wealth and earthly success, but to know Jesus deep enough to suffer because of our faith, and to die to our selfish desires that brings unnecessary problems and suffering.
· “10 I want to know Christ” both meant to feed our intellect, and to act on what we know of Him.
· You must ask God for His grace in creating time for studying the Word.
4. “I resolve to deepen my devotion to God.”
“For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2.
“23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” John 4:23-24.
· Choosing worshipers is a divine prerogative.
· People must come to Him according to God’s own term.
· God chooses those who worship Him through Jesus, His Son.
· True worshippers of God, worship in Spirit and truth.
· God as Spirit refers to the very nature of God and one cannot know Him apart from the Bible – the Word of truth.
Psalm 34:8, it says, “8 Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”
· The Psalmist encourages his readers to experience the goodness of God.
· Before coming to faith, God is boring and irrelevant.
· And those whom God has chosen to worship Him, will “taste and see that the Lord is good” and will take shelter in Him.
Final word: I know it’s hard to make these resolutions a reality. Admittedly, if we do it for ourselves or for others, we will not come around doing it. So, if I may suggest, do all things for God’s glory, and He will see to it that you will have all the help you need. A blessed new year to all!
“23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:23-24.