for I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NASB)
January 1st has passed….and if you’re like most Americans you’ve made at least one resolution and failed to keep it. You’re in the “irresolution” phase now! Forget those silly New Year’s resolutions, I’m fine the way I am. Who needs to change?!
I’m not going to preach to you about will power or what diet is the best, there’s a whole army of marketing gurus that get paid the big bucks to do that. But I do believe that this time of year – after the indulgent, over-committed, exhausting, and sometimes depressing holidays – may be the best time to re-evaluate your life. Wait, let me re-state that, the life that God has blessed you with. That includes your time, your finances, your health, your family and friends, your talents and abilities, your everything.
Re-evaluating doesn’t have to be a negative thing. Bashing yourself over the head with “should have, could have, would have” and then spending the next week comforting with chocolate really doesn’t accomplish much in the long run. But God does say to have a sober self-assessment (2 Cor. 10:11-13) to be who He has created us to be without comparing ourselves to others or pretending to be someone we are not meant to be. Maybe that should begin with asking God to show you who He wants you to be? (Psalms 139: 1; 23)
Can I suggest two significant ways we can re-evaluate and re-align our lives with who God wants us to be? I believe this first one is the single most significant habit anyone could ever have! It is reading God’s Word, the Bible, on a daily, consistent basis and praying.
Wait, don’t leave yet…I know just how you feel. I spent years giving excuses (school, work, kids, time, comprehension, yada yada yada). Honestly, it’s like any habit…it’s hard work in the beginning, but then it gets to be like brushing your teeth every day. But I’ll be honest, reading the Bible and getting closer to God has been the best thing for all areas of my life. It’s like the “magic” pill to help with everything! Promise.
Proverbs 2:1-5 says:
… if you will receive my words and treasure my commandments within you, make your ear attentive to wisdom, incline your heart to understanding; for if you cry for discernment, lift your voice for understanding; if you seek her as silver and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will discern the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God.
God’s Word is powerful and the ultimate truth. Every question, every fear, every confusion, everything, has an answer in God’s Word…will you receive it?
The second way is found in Romans 12:1 which tells us “to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” That’s kind of a tall order, isn’t it? A living sacrifice sounds pretty serious and if I’m honest, a little daunting. But if you’re sincere about re-evaluating and you want the future God wants for you (Jeremiah 29:11-13) and you’re receiving God’s Word, this is totally doable!
Your body is not your own if you’ve asked Jesus to be your Savior. Actually, it never was your own, because you belong to the Creator, God, and realistically speaking He is in control and holds the power over everything anyway, so you might as well just go with the flow. You’ll be the most joyful and content and at peace if you’re living as He intended you to live.
God calls our bodies His “temple” in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20:
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore, glorify God in your body.
Taking care of your body, eating healthy and being physically active, not over-indulging, and caring for yourself is taking care of God’s temple. Pretty motivating isn’t it? Even Jesus, said to His Father God, “not my will, but yours” knowing he was blameless but about to be brutally murdered for our sins (Matthew 26:39). So maybe having smaller portions, having less sugar, or taking a walk isn’t really that much to ask?
You’re the caretaker of God’s temple, but He provides everything you need to do your job well. He has given you his Word and the Holy Spirit for the guidelines to living, thinking, and being all you were made to be. But you need to receive and live knowing that Jesus has already done the hard part that you couldn’t do on your own. He gave the ultimate sacrifice so you could be free to live life to the fullest (John 10:10)!
So…start your new, every day, amazingly doable, be-the-best-you stuff right now…
…read and think about God’s Word, talk to Him, move that amazing body that He created in some way that you enjoy, eat a healthy meal of the food He has created, and then enjoy a little bit of dark chocolate and thank Him for everything!
Heavenly Father, you are the author of life. You created and you sustain everything and every person. Without you Jesus, there would be no way to the Father and we are so very thankful that you loved us so much that you gave up divinity to live as a human being. You know our struggles and our temptations and our failures, yet you provide all we need to live this life you’ve given us to the fullest. Holy Spirit remind us that we are God’s temple and help us treat our bodies and our minds as your dwelling place. With full hearts we say not my will, but yours Lord. Amen.