CHALLENGE FOR THE NEW YEAR by: Pastor Randy Weekley
So what are some changes that we would like to see change in our lives? Here are some usual yearly spiritual challenges: Be more faithful in reading the Bible
• Make sure I have my daily quiet time with the Lord.
• Stop being intimidated about sharing my faith.
• Be more faithful in praying for my family, church, and others.
• To save money and live within my means, to give more to others and our church.
• Stop complaining
• Love the Lord above all else
• To ask the Lord for someone to disciple
• That God would give me a mentor
• Most of us want to lose weight.
I would like to suggest to you perhaps the most important thing that we can do as Christians this year and that will affect real change is found in Gal. 5:16-26
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.” (Galatians 5:16–26, ESV)
I would encourage you to read this text at least 10 times and let the truths contact your inner man, where God does His work. Verse 15 simply says that if we walk, that is a lifestyle of seeking the Holy Spirit’s power, we will not do what the flesh, (that is our pride and all the stuff it can lead us into), desires us to do.
I believe that walking in the Spirit is a cure all. I need to be careful – not that walking in the Spirit stops all the negative circumstances of life or that suddenly we exist it that mythical Christian Rose Garden. It’s a cure for us in the sense of attitudes and help in becoming sinless (in the sense of sinning less). We become emotionally strong in our faith. We experience the joy that is absent in so many of our lives. Walking in the Spirit enables us to experience God’s love for us and our love for Him.
“… because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:5, ESV) “I think” those words “God’s love” can have this two-fold thrust His love for us and our love for Him which is given to us by the Holy Spirit. As we fall in Love with the Lord daily we will not want to sin against Him.
All of this to say – that REAL HONEST CHANGE only comes as we seek to walk in the Holy Spirit Who was given to us in our regeneration. I am assuming that as believers above all else, of all the resolutions or changes we would like to see in our lives, that loving God and living for Him is the highest goal of our lives. I suggest to you beloved, this can ONLY BE DONE THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT!
May our Lord give us the desire to walk in the Spirit; that it becomes habitual and natural in our daily routines.