Author: Ron Graham
As another new year begins, and everyone is wishing you a happy new year, how are you going to help that wish come true? How can you become a happy new you in this happy new year?
¶“7Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:7-8).
Most people don't have a personal battle with the devil. They are not resistance fighters. We cannot always flee from the devil. But we are never trapped. We can flee to God for refuge and in God’s power resist the devil. He will then flee from us. What good news!
¶“22Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires. 23Be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24and put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24).
You've been given a mind and it's not just a brain nourished by blood. Your mind is also a spirit nourished by God’s truth. This spirit is created in the likeness of God. It is precious. Rescue it and renew it through Christ. Keep this new self holy and righteous.
¶“1Because you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4Christ is your life. When he appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:1-4).
We cannot fulfill every wish in this world, nor follow every whim. We must recognise and address what's important. The kingdom of God should be sought first, not be pushed aside by earthly things. Even the “necessities” of life should take second place.
¶“8Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for I have put my trust in you. Make me know the way I should go, for I lift up my soul to you. 9Deliver me from my enemies O LORD. I have fled to you for refuge. 10Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground” (Psalm 143:8-10).
Many people push everybody around to get their own way. They care little for God’s will —their own will is master. Instead, be like the Psalmist and ask God to teach you his will. Don't lean on your own understanding; let God’s will be your guide.
¶“15Be very careful, then, how you live —not as unwise but as wise. 16Redeem the time because the days are evil. 17So do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is” (Ephesians 5:15-17).
You cannot always control how you use your time. If you are considerate of others, you will often have to "go with the flow" or even stand still and wait. But at any time you may be given opportunities to serve God —even unexpected and unplanned opportunities. Don't waste them.
¶“3Know that the Lord is God. He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture. 4Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. 5For the Lord is good and his love endures forever. His faithfulness continues through all generations” (Psalm 100:3-5).
People are constantly exclaiming “Oh my God!” but they don't honour him as their God and Maker. I saw a sign advertising a hotdog called “Oh My Dog!” (God backwards). It gave a sausage more praise than most people ever give God.
¶“20But you, dear friends, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21keep yourselves in the love of God as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. 3Contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people” (Jude 1:20-21,3).
The faith that Jesus Christ lovingly delivered to the world is the most precious thing you have. You must be a keeper of that faith, guarding it, with your very life. Renew that commitment and be strong.
|Neutralise the devil|
|Enliven your spirit|
|Weigh your priorities|
|Yield your will to God|
|Exploit your opportunities|
|Appreciate God’s help|
|Renew your commitment|