"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." -Galatians 5:22-23
With every new year comes those dreaded resolutions. Each year we want a better us, we want to better ourselves and our lives. And as midnight strikes on January 1st and after the kisses are planted you start to hear these goals that we make for ourselves. You know what I'm talking about.....I want to lose weight, I am going to spend more time with my family, I am going to get a better job or go back to school. But as the days, weeks and months roll by we seem to lose sight of those goals that we had set not too long ago. It's not like they leave us, they are still there but just tucked away somewhere for safe keeping. And when December 31st of that year rolls around we end up making the same promises to ourselves.
Two years ago I decided I'm not making New Years resolutions anymore. They are just setting me up for disappointment. I mean really who isn't disappointed when they think of everything they had promised the year before and then take a look a their life a year later and hardly anything has changed? I'm tired of that so instead of resolutions I have started listing "hopes" for the year to come.
My number one hope for last year was this....." I want a closer relationship with God. This was one that I had last year and it's going to be at the top of my list for ever and ever. I want to learn more and get to know Him more. One way I did this in the past year was attending church, prayer, conferences, reading (bible and devotionals), talking with others..etc. For this year I will continue to do all of those things but this coming Sunday I'm joining the church that I have been attending. We all need a church home. I love this church and want to become more involved and this is my first step in doing so. I'm very excited =)"
And you know what last year I did all of that, but I still have SOOOOO much to learn. I have been a member of ELFB for a year now and I love it!! I have made some wonderful friends and leaders. And this year still I want to become more plugged in than I was this past year. I'm still a baby as far as knowledge about Him goes. So this year again that is one of my hopes.
But I'm taking it a step further this year. My hope while learning more about Him and His word will also be to be more LIKE Him. He gave us a human example to follow and that was Jesus. Yes I know Jesus was the perfect man, but shouldn't we strive to be like that? No we are never going to be perfect, but God already knows that. And in John 14:6 Jesus said"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." So see even Jesus himself tells us that he is the only way to get to God. And once we accept them in our hearts and start living the life as we were intended to live it we are never going to be truly happy.
As teens we want to be rebels and do whatever it is that we think is going to make US happy. Normally these things go against God's plans for us. But God gave us free will. And so we have the option to come to Him or pull away from Him. Isn't it funny how when we pull away from Him and take him out of that #1 spot in our lives how messy our lives become. And you develop this rough and tough heart and outlook on life. BUT when you ask Jesus in to your heart and start to live the life that God wants you to live your heart all the sudden become lighter and more joyful. But that's one of God's promises to you. Ezekiel 36:26 says "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh." Isn't that awesome?!?! I love that promise for a Jesus lovin' heart!
But another thing the Bible tells us is that when we have a Jesus heart we will be filled with the fruits of the Spirit. And in Galatians 5:22-23 it tells us that those fruits are "love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control". And this is what I mean when I say I want to be like Him! I want these fruits to ooze from my pores. HAHA, now that I read that again it sounds nasty but that's what I want. When someone sees me these are the words I want them to think not "Debbie Downer" ones. I want to be the person that HE wants me to be and He is telling me that these are the characteristics He wants me to have. So this year I'm going to be praying for less of my heart and for more of His. With my stoney heart changing so will my attitude and my actions, but all for the better.
Will you take this challenge with me??