As I jingle all the way into a new year, I set my mind on following God. I’m confident, as I follow His path, I’ll be moving forward with faith-filled motives.
Reflecting on the last year is hard. I wasn’t skipping through sunny, green fields with a daisy-chain in my hair. Fighting my dark side, lightsaber in hand, I was mostly losing the battle. I cried more than I laughed. I felt defeated more than I felt victorious. As I walked through my dark valley, I clung to God in desperation, knowing only He could save my life. No matter how grim my circumstances felt, I always believed He was there.
This fall, things changed. With help from my professional friend, I felt like I was no longer camping out in that dark valley. God was with me every step of the way, lovingly showing me when and where to get the help I needed.
My counselor encourages me to seek progress, not perfection. Each day I strive to be the best me and Jesus says I will be blessed.
Jesus as Our Guide
His famous Sermon on the Mount is in Matthew 5:1-10. The Message version:
“When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:
You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.
You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.
You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.
You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.
You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.”
Billy Graham wrote, “Applying these principles can enrich life greater than anything; they are timeless and universal in nature. Jesus’ words can bring hope and new life to us today as we dwell on, and put into practice, the wisdom and truth declared. True happiness is summed up in walking with Jesus Christ, living according to the truth He has set forth.”
Your Faith-filled Motives
If you are into setting resolutions for the new year, I encourage you to go with only one: trust God. Read your Bible and pray in expectation. He will lead you in unexpected ways, through unusual people, in uncommon circumstances. I can tell you from experience: God is there for you, always!
Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.Hebrews 4:16 MSG
God’s readiness to give and forgive is now public. Salvation’s available for everyone! We’re being shown how to turn our backs on a godless, indulgent life, and how to take on a God-filled, God-honoring life. This new life is starting right now, and is whetting our appetites for the glorious day when our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, appears. He offered himself as a sacrifice to free us from a dark, rebellious life into this good, pure life, making us a people he can be proud of, energetic in goodness.Titus 2:11-14 MSG