By now, presumably, most people who are in the habit of making New Year’s resolutions have already done so. Even if you have, or if you’re putting it off or considering skipping it altogether this year, take a moment to think about New Year’s resolutions with regards to believers in the Messiah.
Why is the tradition of self-improvement limited only to year-long stretches when bettering oneself is an ongoing process? What kind of resolution should believers be considering the most? With those questions in mind, here is a good Lifetime Resolution that all believers should consider:
Everyone knows the most common resolutions: get fit, spend more time with family, lose weight, etc. Well,
The training of the body has a limited benefit, but godliness is beneficial in every way, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. (1 Tim. 4:8 HCSB)
There has been a great tug-of-war in the public arena between believers and unbelievers over who will set the standard for this nation’s values, and believers have had both successes and setbacks. Ultimately, however, arguing back and forth with unbelievers isn’t going to accomplish anything—not as long as believers’ messages are confined only to doctrines and theories.
The ultimate witness and proof of the believers’ argument is the believer’s life, and a focus on godliness and the love of God is the only way for believers to allow the truth to be established in their lives as a witness to outsiders.
Jesus said, “But I have a greater testimony than John’s because of the works that the Father has given Me to accomplish. These very works I am doing testify about Me that the Father has sent Me.”(Jn. 5:36 HCSB) And when Jesus was asked to say directly that He was the Messiah, we read:
‘I did tell you and you don’t believe,’ Jesus answered them. ‘The works that I do in My Father’s name testify about Me.’ (Jn. 10:25 HCSB)
The evidence of His being the Messiah was plainly visible through the work He was accomplishing. The proof was in the tasting, so to speak. That principle also applies to us as followers of the Messiah, as the truth of the message of the gospel and believers’ faith—especially on topics of obedience vs. personal opinion—cannot be challenged when the results are obvious.
My speech and my proclamation were not with persuasive words of wisdom but with a powerful demonstration by the Spirit, so that your faith might not be based on men’s wisdom but on God’s power. (1 Cor. 2:4-5 HCSB)
For believers, God’s power is shown through our lives, which are our greatest testimony. It is vitally important, then, for believers to allow God to mold and guide our lives according to His will, cultivating us as His “royal priesthood” (1 Pet. 2:9) so that His glory may be shown in the earth.
When others look at the lives of those who profess the Messiah and see God’s provision, protection, joy and peace, which He bestows upon those who know Him, love Him, and follow Him, the contrast with the disobedient will be clear and will convict the ungodly.
The godly lives of believers that display God’s power and glory will show the reality of His Kingdom and “silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.”(1 Pet. 2:15)
This can only be done, however, if believers make it a priority to keep themselves and their households ever walking in God’s truth, knowing, loving, and serving Him in love, truth, righteousness, and peace, and growing in holiness and the knowledge of the Lord. Go through the straight gate and keep on the narrow way that leads to God’s Kingdom, and the truth of His Word will be self-evident.
So for this year, 2014, and every year to come, make this Lifetime Resolution to grow in holiness and in the Spirit of God so that God may glorify Himself through your lives. Resolve to get fit in the Spirit, spend more time with God, and lose the worldly weight that holds us down and keeps us from our goal.
Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. (1 Peter 2:12 HCSB)