The Lord is good to all,
and His tender mercies are over all His works.
As I sit here reflecting on 2020, my mind settles peacefully on the truth of how good God was and STILL is! My heart swells knowing and believing the power of the Lord's immense love for me. His faithfulness is rich in love, grace, and mercy. I think of how blessed I am, how "rich" I am…not monetarily, but spiritually and with the people He has placed in my life to love.
I have been waiting on the Lord a lot lately, introspectively thinking, and finding myself wanting more of Jesus. As I think of all the New Year resolutions being made, many of us will make them hoping that "it" sticks, that somehow "it" will magically change us. Whether it is the new diet to follow, to exercise more, read more, maybe even resolve to yell less, be a better person, etc. The resolution to stick out whatever "it" is, we find that most of them are not long-lasting. By February/March, those "things" that were said, with good intentions, have faded away and have left us feeling incomplete and discouraged, not good enough, a failure.
You may find yourself right now asking, "Are New Year resolutions bad, then?" No, not when our focus is in its rightful place. These "things" are not bad. We should strive to be a better person, filtering out the bad to become more like him. You see, these "things" most often are done in our strength, not His. We cruise along in life, chasing the world a bit too much. We get comfortable and find that we don't "need" Jesus as much as we used to. We become complacent in our walks. Before we know it, we notice that we aren't in His Word that much anymore & without realizing we have slipped further away from Jesus. Our spiritual hunger (fire) has dimmed. It is still burning, but not blazing as it once did.
Our answer to real change is not placing our hope in all of the New Year resolutions that leave us empty and discouraged, but by placing our hope in Jesus, our Savior. He is the one who can change and transform our hearts and lives. We must put God first. We must rely on His strength and not our own.
What if instead of running on empty, in our strength, we run to Him? He is the one who fills our cups DAILY, giving us HIS strength to face our days. Instead of focusing on our physical well-being for our resolutions, what if we focused on our spiritual well-being first? What if we would resolve to seek the Lord first and foremost, pray more, study more, and sit in His presence more? What if we strive to be more like Him, read His Word more, entrench our souls with it? Our souls are hungry and thirsty for the Living Bread and Water.
You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my
whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.
What if we were bold enough to pray for a personal spiritual revival, not for what we are doing or even what we want? Instead, what if we pray for our hearts to be transformed from the INSIDE out? What if instead of letting anxiety rule our lives, we choose JOY? What if, instead of holding onto unbelief, we choose to TRUST Him? What if, instead of fear overwhelming us, we choose to walk in OBEDIENCE? This list goes on and on. Each time we exchange what is hindering us in our walk with Him, and we give it to him, the chains and strongholds are broken, joy returns, and hope rises…all by the power and blood of Jesus Christ.
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them,
because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
1 John 4:4
As I am getting older and hopefully wiser, resolutions take on a new meaning for me. I know with my whole heart, the Lord wants and longs for more of us. He wants us to draw near to Him. He wants our hearts to be wholly His and fully aligned with His heart and not with the world.
We must stop being intoxicated with the world and start CHASING Jesus wholeheartedly! We must shift our perspective from an earthly lens to an eternal lens. We have been called to be set apart for His Kingdom and His glory, not the worlds. How can the world, how can our fellow Christian brothers and sisters know Jesus more if we think, act, respond, and do like the world? We must be different enough for them to want to know our Jesus more.
Be wholeheartedly devoted to the LORD our God to walk in his
statutes and to keep his commands, as it is today.
1 Kings 8:61
May I be bold enough to say that these "material things," even the good "things," isn't what my soul is longing for, these "things" aren't going to feed me spiritually or draw me closer to Him. He is patiently waiting for me to come to Him with my everything. If I want to accomplish these "things" in my life, then I need to turn to Jesus daily for His strength to carry me through. I need to be seeking Jesus with my whole heart, with limited distractions from this world. I need His guidance, His discernment. I need to stand firmly on the Rock, who is IMMOVABLE, UNSHAKABLE.
I used to be a New Year's resolution kind of gal, and I failed almost every single one of them. When I did make them, though, my intentions were good and were meant to change a bad habit, to be better in x, y, and z area. I realized that I was going about it all wrong. What I needed was to put Jesus in His rightful place.
Several years ago, I changed my thinking and heart from my "worldly" resolutions that left me feeling like a failure and incomplete because they were not long-lasting and exchanged them for Jesus, to CHASE Jesus and walk with Him on a deeper level. I am complete in Him; He fills my every need, and that, my sweet friends, is enough!
I want more of Jesus this year; there is a stirring in my soul to go deeper, know Him more intimately, and deny myself, even more, to allow Him to use me as He sees fit. I want more of Him, but FIRST, I must decrease. I have seen the Lord work in miraculous ways. I have experienced His goodness in the good and bad. Maybe you are right there with me. I find comfort in His promise that His mercies are new every morning. Do you want more of Him? I do!
He must become greater; I must become less.
So, instead of making those resolutions where most of them won't come to fruition and will quickly fade, will you join me this year and resolve to draw closer to Jesus daily? I encourage you to press into Jesus more this year. Will it be easy? Nope, not a chance. In fact, the biggest challenge for me, maybe even for you, is finding the time. I encourage you to try your best to carve out time daily to be with God and protect it. I can promise you that there is no sweeter place to be! As we move into 2021, let's pause, reflect, look up, and fix our eyes on Jesus. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He is our source for everything that we face.
I am looking forward to seeing God move this year. Thank you for being a part of my journey here on Alabaster Heart, a place where your hearts will be encouraged and inspired to worship the Healer of our souls!
In His love,