"resolution” – a firm decision to do or not to do something
New Year's is that time of year when most people tend to make their resolutions.
The gyms fill up with people who have resolved to work out and get back in shape. Churches fill up with people who have resolved to be more committed. Diet microwave meals fly off the grocery store shelves as people have resolved to eat healthier. Lists get posted to refrigerator doors, mirrors, walls, and even work cubicles as people name their top ten things that they are going to resolve to do or not do in the new year.
And then…….well then, comes February. And all those resolutions (if they make it that far) go out the window.
We start with the greatest of intentions. With important goals and things to focus on. Our health, weight loss, need to get out of debt, need for a new car, desire to start saving for our kids' college expenses, plans to go on a big vacation, etc. Then somewhere along the line we lose focus, lack motivation, get distracted, or simply procrastinate.
Year after year, setting goals or resolutions just becomes a force of habit, and very monotonous. To some it can even be frustrating and tiring, which is why they just don’t do it.
But whether you make New Year’s resolutions or not, or attend the modern day "Vision Board parties", it's all pointless if we set out to accomplish our goals apart from God. #goals #visionboard #resolutions #inthemirrorofGod
So today I ask: where is God in your plans?
Is He a priority? Does He even make the list? Is your spiritual growth even a concern? Have you included God in any of your planning or committed any of your goals to Him?
Let’s dive deeper into why this is the sole most important question that needs to be answered in order to ensure your new year is indeed a success.
Acknowledge that God’s Plans Prevail Above All
Step one in learning to incorporate God into your plans is acknowledging that even if you have the absolute best intentions, that ultimately God’s plans prevail. We CANNOT out plan God!
Psalm 33:11 (NIV) says: But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.
This is important because as Christians we sometimes try to plan every aspect of our lives. And we do it often with our own agenda that has absolutely nothing to do with what God wants.
Do you ever wonder why some things you pursue just never seem to go smoothly, or fall into place, or come to fruition? Or why certain things just seem to take forever to achieve? Its typically because we try to find a short cut, a “better way”, or are simply way off track from where God wants us to be.
Sometimes God even reveals His EXACT plan to us and we still find ways to try to do things our way. Look at the Israelites in the bible. God freed them from Egypt and told them He was going to take them to the Promised Land. But due to their sin, stubbornness and lack of belief and focus, it ended up being a 40+ year journey!
New Year’s Resolutions – Yay or Nay?
So what is the point here? Do we just NOT make any plans at all and leave it all up to God?
No. I’m simply saying that when we make plans, we MUST allow room for God in our plans. In other words, realize that God can shift things in a different direction, change your course completely, or even bring things to a halt altogether if He so decides.
I will tell you, that the bible has A LOT to say about planning in general. Regardless of what version of the bible you read, you will find at least 50 verses or passages on the topic. And all roads (or should I say verses) lead back to including God in those plans.
So whether you make a list, create a board, or just live each day in the moment, God should be included in your plans.
The problem is that most of us don’t want to align ourselves with God’s plan for us. This results in most Christians being found at one of two opposite extremes of a spectrum:
1. having no vision at all for any aspect of our lives (physical, social, educational, financial or spiritual)
2. having an entire vision that is focused on all the other aspects of life EXCEPT the spiritual side
Either scenario is detrimental.
The “vision” spoken of here refers to the revelation of God and His Word. In other words, any area of our lives in which we don’t include God is set up on some level to fail.
So how do we enhance our “vision” and align ourselves with God? By learning His Word so that we can know what His will is for us!
Spiritual Goals are a MUST!
Once, we acknowledge that God’s plans are above our own and that we need to align ourselves with Him, we must then acknowledge that our spiritual growth should always be a part of our goals.
God has called us as believers to grow in our relationship with Him and to become more Christlike. That is His will and His ultimate plan for our lives.
I Thessalonians 4:3 (NIV) says: It is God's will that you should be sanctified.
Sanctified means set apart, purified, consecrated, or made holy for a purpose. It all starts with spending more time in God's Word.
Learning the bible, is the ONLY way to learn more about God, His Will and how to live for Him.
It always baffles me how we as Christians want and expect so much from God, and yet do so little to cultivate our relationship with Him. #relationshipwithGod #inthemirrorofGod
The more time we spend in His Word, the more His Word can convict and change our hearts, attitudes, words, thoughts, desires, actions, and our goals to align with His. Everything else in our lives will begin to fall into place from there.
Its simple - If we want God to be about our business then we need to learn to be about His business. There is no way, that if we as Christians begin to put God first in our lives that He won’t begin to bless other areas of our lives in the process.
Psalms 37:4 says:
To take delight in something means “to take great pleasure in”. To take delight in the Lord, means to take great pleasure in spending more time with God, in His Word, in prayer, and doing things that pleases Him. This verse plainly tells us that when we do this, God will give us the desires of our heart.
We work soooo hard to get the things we want or desire in this life. And working hard is not wrong in and of itself. However, sometimes we try to do all the work, which makes it ten times harder for us. Sometimes, all we need is to shift our focus to God.
After all, the verse makes it plain! It's a definitive statement! A promise! Even if it doesn’t all happen in this year, it is a guarantee, according to the Word of God - that if we delight in Him He will give us our hearts desire!
Does this mean we will get every little thing we desire no matter what it is? Close but not quite. LOL! Keep in mind the prerequisite of the verse – “delight yourself in the Lord”. God did not make any mistakes when He made any of His promises.
Think about it: if we truly begin to “delight” or “take great pleasure” in God and what pleases him, our heart’s desires will begin to align with God’s will and what He wants for us anyway. So yes, when one truly delights in the Lord, God will indeed give you the desires of your heart because your desires will be aligned with His will for your life.
Commit All Your Other Plans to God
Once we make our spiritual growth our #1 priority, then whatever plans, hopes, dreams, lists, goals, aspirations, desires or vision you have – as a Christian, we must learn to commit it all to God.
Now what does it mean to commit everything to God? Again, it's simple – include Him!
When you're making your plans and decisions, talk to God about it. Ask for His guidance. Consult Him to see if it is even what He wants you to be doing. Ask for His strength when the process gets tough. Ask for His help when you hit a brick wall and don’t know where to turn. Ask for His provision when funds have run out. Ask for strength and boldness when its time to make a change or if He tells you to stop doing something.
What sense does it make for us to even have a relationship with God, where He makes Himself fully available to us, but yet we don’t utilize Him to the fullest potential?
What we often end up doing is starting a task or goal all by ourselves, without God. Then a few months down the road, we have nothing to show for it, or everything has gone wrong, or maybe even failed. Then we cry out to God for help.
We don’t even realize how much trouble in life we could avoid by simply consulting God on the front end of things versus the back end (this is where i input my SMH emoji).
We could achieve so much more in life, so much faster, so much easier, if we would only stop and consult God about our plans. #includingGod #consultingGod #planningwithGod #inthemirrorofGod
So, again I ask, Where is God in Your Plans?
Even if you have no list, no resolutions or no particular goal at all, lets all plan to work on our relationship with God first and foremost. That is something that will never be perfected or exhausted (at least not on this side of heaven). There is ALWAYS room for growth in your walk with God. And it is the one thing He desires from every Christian.
As for all the other aspects - whether you want to work on having a better attitude, lose weight, save money for a new car, get your master’s degree, buy a home, learn a foreign language, travel overseas, get married, or start your own business – whatever your plan may be (short or long term) – aligning yourself, your goals, your life, your everything, with God and His plan for you, is the best way to ensure success!
Don’t ever stop making plans or having goals. Just remember to surrender your plans over to God and commit them to Him for approval, change or denial based on His Will for your life. Remember that God’s plan is always the best plan. So make room for Him in your life!
After all, God already knows our future and has already mapped out the “ultimate plan” for our lives. If we don't align with Him now, we will just be fighting Him along the way. And like the Israelites, we will find ourselves taking the long road to a blessing He had for us all along.
Sometimes, all we need to do is what He has asked us to do. And then we need to sit back, trust Him, and let His plan unfold. And if we do that right, God will begin to work in ALL aspects of our lives. In ways we could have never planned for or even imagined!