This may sound passé, but I don’t get why New Year’s resolutions are as big a deal as they are. Yes, I’m all about life change and terminating undesired behavior; however, when it comes to one’s resolve to #levelup, I guess I’m a tad skeptical. Perhaps it’s the sugarcoated tradition we, as a culture, have placed on taking spiritual inventory or the ghost of New Year’s past reminding me of the times I missed targets once aimed for. Either way, I feel like a fish out of water writing about goals in a time when it’s so cliché.
Still, I can’t deny the wisdom in writing down the vision (Habakkuk 2:2) of Spirit-led aspirations. Thus, without further ado, here are my top three goals for 2017…
- Make like a proton & stay positive.
Ok, so I know this sounds obvious, but it’s worth repeating: positivity is a choice and a fruit of the voice. Granted, I’m not saying anything new; however, speaking from conviction, while I don’t struggle with hope, I do struggle in consistently guarding it with joy. As a result, my positivity can find itself restricted to change on the horizon as opposed to living fully in the moment. If you’re like me in the sense your positivity and present aren’t always aligned, I encourage you: consider how you want your life to speak and set your mind for positivity.
‘Cause truth is: you cannot have a positive life and a negative mind. You cannot use your voice for kindness, your ears for compassion, and your heart for love if you’re not consistently believing the best for you and those around you. Yeah, I know it’s easy to let the downers of life, whether people or circumstances, set the tone. Yet, when I consider how I want to grow in 2017, no question, I want to be more positive; hence, why I’m goin’ to make like a proton and stay positive no matter how ‘neutron’ or ‘electron’ life gets.
- Capitalize on opportunity.
It’s been said nothing is more expensive than a missed opportunity. In terms of cost, I agree. Certainly there’s a correlation between seizing the day and staying alert…between staying alert and challenging oneself.
The question is: How do we actually stay alert?
For starters, we must stand firm in prayer and faith (1 Corinthians 16:13-14). In my experience, I’ve found it easier to desire a challenge than what sets us up to overcome it. We want the thrill, we want the strength, just not the silence or the persistence. Yet, while wanting to better steward the assignments of God is entirely good, we can only get there if we allow our prayer life to be more purposeful and perpetual. After all, given prayer is a cyclical process, we can’t hear if we don’t listen and we can’t be more sensitive if we’re not intentional.
I believe for many of us, 2017 is going to be a year when our minds are renewed through the refreshing of our listening…a season in which we’ll hear God’s voice more clearly through deliberate prayer and furthermore by the divine appointments he arranges.
My advice: If you’re faithful in the quiet spaces (seek first the Kingdom and his righteousness), God will ensure his confidence and influence through you in the public places…as you serve in love (and all these things will be given to you; (Psalm 118:5; Matthew 6:33).
- Pursue freedom.
Freedom can be a tricky word in our spiritual vocabulary. On one hand, we know it’s for freedom that Christ has set us free (Galatians 5:1) and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17); on the other, we might think: “If I’ve been purchased at a price, why do I still feel anything but free?”
Honestly, I think part of the reason is our tendency to equate freedom with victory. Yes, Jesus took away our chains at Calvary. Yet, while victory was attained at the cross, we still have the choice (free will) to walk in the freedom that victory produced. So while some may view freedom through a ‘have it or you don’t’ mentality, I contend it’s grace in motion…a pursuable, tangible reality we can know AND walk in.
Interestingly, if we dig a little deeper, we find freedom, as described by Paul’s verb selection in his letters, as obtainable in the desert places and fillable in the empty places. Therefore, I submit: if we’re struggling with shame yet are aiming for freedom, we shouldn’t be afraid to lay it all on the altar before God considering a) his compassion…his mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23) and b) his freedom is always on the move.
As Davey Blackburn once stated: “God wants to use [us] in [our] weakness far better than [we] can use [our] talent.” So why not allow the freeing work of God in Christ through his Spirit consume places where sin and its rubble once dwelt as we humbly boast in God’s ability to use our weakness as opposed to exalting it ourselves?
Photo creds: staastao.com
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.