Wednesday, December 31, 2014

What God Wants to Give Us Instead of Resolutions - 6 Things to Practice...

Was it really only six days ago when we were last filled with hope and awe as we remembered, once again, the birth of our King and Savior? Not only our hearts, but the entire world stilled – it didn’t even matter if it was because one believed or if the stillness was demanded by a culture needing their holiday. Only six days ago our minds were wrapped around thoughts of peace and joy and quiet wonder.

We wonder how to press those qualities deep within the marrow of our being, that they may become our lifeblood in the days to come.   Were our fickle hearts transformed this year, or would they betray us once again, returning to their old ways?  Did we know 6 days ago that in a few hours “real life” would draw us back to responsibilities and the state of feeling pressure?  And perhaps we were practicing a bit of psychological denial in some hidden place so that we could enjoy whatever moments we possible that cocoon of timelessness we weave for these holidays?

How Resolutions Grow in Our Hearts

That gentle, tender time of Christmas forms the backdrop to where we perhaps find ourselves now….reaching into self instead of resting in the sacred.  We can rest in Him when all of life is suspended for these holy-days, but how to carry that sense of being enveloped in the sacred to our everyday is a lesson some of us haven’t quite learned – or in my case, I have to learn it again and again!  The juxtaposition of the urgent that calls forth our flesh against the holy that nourishes our spirit finds its most intense expression when we try to make a  “New Year’s Resolution”.  We want to take that feeling God has nurtured in our hearts and make it incarnate through some action.  Maybe we want to prove that what we have felt is important to us, and that we believe He can change us and this new year will be better than any before. 

Our thoughts and intentions are good – but if accomplished from self-effort, they are destined to fail – maybe in a couple of days, or a couple of weeks, or a couple of months (if we are particularly strong willed as I am!).  Six days ago we were abiding in Him; now we reach for a goal we can work towards to show Him our love, our strength, our determination.  (Oh, how He must be smiling now!  Isn’t that what He came to save us from? Ourselves?)

 And here it occurs to me that the number six represents the number of man, 7 is the number of God, of perfection…6 days ago we were on our way to 7, but we stopped short, and so are left to our own strength.   In this season of making resolutions, of setting goals, God wants to bring something better into our lives, our hearts, our homes.  What we need is something that relies on His Spirit within and isn’t so dependent on our own soul (our thoughts, will, and emotions) and therefore subject to our inherent frailties!   

We are making resolutions when God wants to give us revelation!

Revelation is that something more, something better, something permanent, something not burdensome and never dependent on our own efforts!  Revelation is what we have stopped short of.    The Lord always wants to reveal Himself to us...He declares:

“Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit…”
Zechariah 4:6

And He also says that He has given us a spirit of power and self-control…

“For God did not give us a Spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
2 Timothy 1:7

Not only has He given us His Spirit, but He has also granted us His promises!

…His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.  
For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, 
so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature…”
2 Peter 1:3-4

And His promises are His Word, which always accomplishes the matter for which He sends it:

"For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. "For you will go out with joy And be led forth with peace; The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, And all the trees of the field will clap their hands…
Isaiah 55:10-12

Instead of resolutions, let’s lay hold of God’s revelation!  
6 Steps to try from within His encircling embrace! 

Simply answer this question: What promises of God are you claiming for the new year?

Better relationships?
A closer walk with Him?

So many promises!  How does a person narrow it down?

1.  Ask yourself, “What has He prepared me for?”  God can use it all - the hurt, mistakes, scars, pain – for His good.

2.  What do you need?  There is a promise that addresses it.  Search the Bible for that promise, then write it down, keep it in a prominent place, labor over understanding it and experiencing it  till it is rooted in your heart…to do this you may have to press into the next step:

3.  Pray for Him to prepare you – let go of bitterness and unforgiveness.  Let Him enlarge your vision; begin to see yourself the way He sees you…He is faithful to His promise and you will  see it fulfilled…but it might be further in the future than you are comfortable with!

4.  Pray for revelation of steps to the promise.  You need to take steps to get anywhere on a journey – but perhaps the first revelation will be to step into His embrace!  And then:

 there may be a hunger that grows,
you may realize a “holy dissatisfaction”,
  there may be a remembering of things He has already instilled in you.

                Ask God to show you which step He wants you to take.

                **I believe this is the place where the growing movement of “My word for the year” can
                 really be useful.  It may take a year to really learn and understand the promises He has 
                 revealed to you!  I have personally joined His Kingdom Come – a new site with a
                 Christian focus that a few of my friends are on.  They are unveiling a "word for the year"
                  directive called Logos365!  I am looking forward to it!

5.   Look to the example of Simeon:  Divine revelation always results in some God- ordained action that positions you to receive what was promised.  For instance, the Word says of Simeon in Luke 2:27-28:

Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts.
When the parents brought in the child Jesus
to do for him what the custom of the Law required,
Simeon took him in his arms…

Simeon followed through on the Spirit's leading - this is NOT acting out of the flesh, but being obedient to the promptings of the Spirit within us.  Sometimes the knowing of "is it me" or "is it God" is confusing, until we have built the experience of knowing that we know that we know His voice!  And perhaps this is the task God wants to refine in us this year?!

6.  Look to the example of Anna:  Worship, fasting and prayer positions you to receive His promise. 

She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 
Coming up to them at that very moment, 
she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child 
to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. 
 Luke 2:37-38

Anna was going through her normal routine - which was focusing on the Lord - and He placed the divine appointment in her path.  He will do this for us, allowing us to "let go" of the striving in the flesh that we are prone to...

That is it!  We can enter into God’s revelation instead of working in the flesh to achieve resolutions!

Till later, beloved...


sarita said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

This is truth!! Can do nothing on our own...i will remember this if anyone asks why i dont "do" resolutions. Happy healthy 2015 to you cindy.

Cindy said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@sarita I just saw your comment! Thank you for declaring truth over it - and for the 2015 blessing! Praying for you to have the exact journey this year that Jesus has ordained!