Are you one of those who make resolutions every year but yet do not see any change or improvement in your life? Do you often feel frustrated because you never fulfilled any resolution in the year? Well, this post must have been written for you.
This post is filled with a few thoughts provoking messages from the Bible and a story about my life to draw your attention to the kind of New Year resolutions we make, especially as the year 2017 comes to a close. You’ll find this helpful. And maybe some of you might relate easily with this post and take positive steps for a fulfilling life in the year.
Are you ready?
Are You a Man of God?
Right, so in the midst of his misfortune and trials, Job said, “You clothed me with skin and flesh, and knit me together with bones and sinews. You have granted me life and steadfast love, and your care has preserved my spirit.” Job 10:11-12
Job was giving these descriptions about God. When I read these words, I couldn’t help but conclude that Job was a man of God. Well, If you have read the book of Job, you should be familiar with his life. There were moments Job questioned God for what was happening to him, yet he would not fail to acknowledge the goodness and faithfulness of God. Knowing what he knew about God gave him the courage and confidence to trust that God would bring him out of his trouble.
For those of you who may be familiar with the phrase Man of God, but don’t really understand it, let me give you a little information about what it means. According to Wikipedia, Man of God is a Biblical title of respect applied to prophets and beloved religious leaders. This definition might be what you are familiar with.
When I read the definition from Wikipedia, I was not satisfied, so I researched further and discovered from gotquestions.org, that a Man of God is the description given to a man that follows God in every way, who obeys His commands with joy, who does not live for the things of this life but for the things of eternity, who willingly serves his God in giving freely of all his resources yet gladly suffers as a consequence of his faith. You can read more about it here www.gotquestions.org/man-of-God.html
Then again, other biblical references that do not explicitly define this title but speak about it, gives us a more trusting way of defining or identifying the phrase. In Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” The following verses also give us a fair idea of who a Man of God is.
Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, A man of God came unto me, and his countenance was like the countenance of an angel of God, very terrible: but I asked him not whence he was, neither told he me his name: Judges 13:6,But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness… 1 Timothy 6:11 (read 1 Timothy 6:11-16)
Per these definitions and the Bible references I hope you agree with me that we are all meant to be Men and Women of God. It isn’t a title reserved for a select group. It’s how God should see us in light of the fact that we are Christians; children of God and must live holy as He is Holy. It is exactly as Paul puts it in 1 Timothy 6:11; that the Man of God, the born again believer must follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness…
So, If even in his suffering Job acknowledges the almighty God as the author of life, it shows that nothing should change the way we see God. Our circumstances should not determine how we should see God. All the troubles, the trials and temptations that plaque us should not decide for us how we should see or relate to God. He is the creator and author of life. And He loves us, even if we fail to acknowledge that. He protects and cares for us in ways we may not understand. We must therefore live as Men and women of God and not just ordinary Christians who are only happy and okay when all is rosy. Whether good or bad, we must be willing to acknowledge God in our lives.
So, my question for you is, “are you a Man of God? Think about it.
Our Self-Seeking Lifestyle
Don’t you think our obsession for material possessions and our self-seeking lifestyle causes us our love for God? We don’t even show gratitude to God even for what we consider insignificant blessings; the food we eat, the clothes we have, a place to sleep, above all the life we have.
And as we approach December 31st, many of us will go on our knees and make request from God for the coming year as usual. We will demand for the delayed weddings, the delayed promotions, the biological children we don’t have, to travel abroad, and many more. Some have become bitter about the misfortunes that plagued them in the year such that they wouldn’t want to make any new year resolutions or show gratitude for the life they have.
You will hear things like, my year of increase, my year of supernatural encounter, my year of joy and happiness, my year of promotions, my year of dumbfounding testimonies and the list goes on. All the focus is on us, and what we want. Don’t get me wrong, am not in any way saying it’s bad to have such resolutions or year themes. On the contrary, its good to have such expectations. God desires for us to enjoy life and if you doubt this, you can read Ecclesiastes 11:9, Ecclesiastes 3:12-13, Ecclesiastes 5:19
In the minds of many lives today, the unanswered prayers are indications that God doesn’t love us. We feel if He won’t give us what we want, then He doesn’t care.
Well, I haven’t forgotten how I used to live my life many years ago until I realized I’ve been trying my best in getting far from God. Yes, getting far from God. We often think we are getting closer when in fact we are getting far from Him. The funny thing is that, we invest time and resources into things that we think will get us closer, but even with all that we sacrifice, we’re still getting farther and farther away from Him.
We spend time working seriously in the Church, supporting our ministers with what we have, giving the best of offerings and tithes we can give. And yet we are where we are, despair. Whenever we’re nearing a new year, we start making assessments of God’s promises and our prayer requests. As we look forward to the coming year we’re thrown into a state of despair, not knowing if it’ll be better than the passing year. At the end of it, we realize our desires were never met and our resolutions failed, and hope get’s lost.
Stop to think for a moment and ask yourself, “am I moving in the right direction in life?“. Are you living as you should? And are you connected to the source of life? Or you are just clinging on? If you are clinging on, I advise you hold tightly or else when the wind blows up, you’re surely going to fall off. And that is when you’ll realize your desires, which were never aligned to God’s Will had led you to your fall and despair.
We Were Created with a Purpose
Even before the foundation of the world, God thought of you. He had you in mind when He was creating the world. And made you for good works. This should give you comfort to know that you are not an accident or an afterthought in the plan of God. You are special and unique.
Now, let me remind you again of how much God loves you. In Jeremiah 29:11, we hear God say to the Israelites, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
God has a wonderful plan for each and every one of us. But there’s a problem. Something that can hinder the fulfillment of the wonderful plans of God for us. And do you know what that is?
Oh, am not referring to sin. Because the matter of sin was dealt with on the cross by Jesus Christ long ago. We were once in bondage of sin, lost and without hope until He appeared and conquered death (the wages of sin). In sin, we could not come close to God or approach Him.
Because of His holiness, and the fact that there’s a punishment for sin, we were destined to die. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God… For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 3:23, 6:23)
So, for us to be set free from the bondage of sin this is what God did, he sent His only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life. And Jesus Christ is the only way, the truth and the life, there’s no man who can come to the father except through Him (paraphrased. John 3:16, John 14:6)
Therefore, on the matter of sin hear this, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)
This means, by accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you receive the free gift of eternal life as promised. You are redeemed and saved from death brought by sin. The guilt and power of sin no more has hold on you. And God himself seals you with the gift of the Holy Spirit. You are no longer under the power and control of sin. That’s it!
OK, now that this one is settled, let’s get back to the issue of what can hinder our progress of fulfilling God’s plan for our lives.
What Hinders God’s Plan for us?
When I was growing up, I used to lick my left thumb. Yeah! you heard right. A habit that was a problem for my mom and many others. I didn’t really see it as a problem. I kept hearing people say to me that my thumb will become small as I continue to lick it. They told me so many scary things. But all those things never scared me easily. I kept licking this thumb until about age five.
At age five I began to wonder why I did that. It didn’t make any sense and I couldn’t believe myself. I began to see a slight difference between my two thumbs; the left one was a little slimmer compared to the right. I obviously imagined the stories I heard were becoming a reality. And I didn’t want to see the worse. I therefore started thinking of a way out.
After many days, I finally figured out what to do, and oh, I made a resolution. How about that? A five year old boy making a resolution. But before I could confidently kick-start my resolution, I needed a push. So I requested for a party to be organized for me.
Well, everyone was shocked to hear that, but realizing their own interventions didn’t work, it was time to try mine. They consented to my plan and served me with jollof rice with egg and a bottle of coke. To cut the long story short, after many months of self-control I broke free from that habit within a year.
In narrating this story, am not just taking you to my past, rather, am drawing your attention to the fact that no one convinced me to get out of that habit. The decision to stop was solely my own initiative with the support of all those who have hoped for me to break free from the habit. It was about sacrifices and self-control.
You should therefore understand that whatever happens in your life is as a result of your decision to allow it. It’s about how you exercise self-control in your life daily.
When I decided to stop the habit of licking my thumb, it was there that I initiated the process of being set free. It was my choice, not that of my mom or siblings or friends. It was me! I was the key to unlocking the door of freedom from that habit. And by that I was on the path of recovery.
Making Our New Year Resolutions
You’ll see the porn addict still glued to movies with pornographic scenes. The drunkard who hopes to be set free from his addiction keeps the same company who are not ready to give up their addiction. There’s the student who is known as the dumb head in school, hoping to be the most brilliant student, but still wants to spend much time playing with friends and roaming in town and watching TV.
And there are countless number of us wishing and hoping to be free from so many habits, from our addictions, yet we are not ready and willing to subject ourselves through the process of sacrificing our present joys and satisfactions for a fulfilling life tomorrow.
There were desires to lick my thumb even after the resolution, but I had to stand firm on my decision and never allow those desires to plunge me into a life of regrets. I also thought of the promise I made to my family and remembered the contract I verbally signed; to enjoy a one man party organized by the family and in turn I would stop licking my thumb.
We could draw motivation from the promises of God to make meaningful sacrifices knowing for sure that the rewards will be worth it.
You’ll have to look far beyond the pains of today and see the joy at the end. That is why the Apostle Paul said, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrew 12:2
If Jesus was able to fulfill His purpose on earth, then trusting in Him to guide you through yours would be the best choice to make.
My mom loved me and wanted the best for me, so she supported me when I decided to take that good step. We must understand that, God loves us and wants the best for us. But he would not force His Will on us. He has given us the gift of freewill to make our own choices. But He also entreats us to make the right choices.
God has so many promises of bringing good things into our lives, but what we often overlook is that, those promises have conditions. And these conditions are not for God, but for our own good.
How is it possible for you to receive something from another person when you have your hands completely full?
It depends on you. So, if you realize things didn’t go as you hoped for in the year, you would have to assess the choices you made and ensure you don’t repeat the same mistakes you made.
If you discover your resolutions were never realized, it’s time to change the direction. Your resolutions are firm decisions you make and must honour. Failure to honour them will mean regrets and frustrations. But, don’t be too focused on you, focus on God. It’s your choice!
As for God, He never fails and His faithfulness is forever, but if we fail to make firm decisions and take firm stands in the right direction, it would be impossible to fully enjoy those wonderful plans He has for us.
And all the beautiful New Year resolutions we make would just vaporize within a few days or weeks into the New Year.
Take Action Now!
Therefore, when you decide to make any resolutions for the coming year remember to focus on your relationship status with God. Make sure you are in right standing with Him. As you make those resolutions, prepare yourself to make sacrifices and brace yourself for the many crashes along the way.
When you fail to stand firm in the right decisions you’ve made and allow the pleasures of this world and its troubles to weigh you down, then you’ll obviously end up in despair within days. And remember, when you hold tightly to God, trusting in Him, you’ll surely see a fruitful and fulfilling new year.
I leave you with Jesus’ statement in Matthew 6:33, “…but seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
If you have been blessed by this post, share your experience with New Year resolutions and do share with your family and friends.
Have a happy and fruitful new year!