Happy Christmastide! You made it! Actually, we made it through another season of advertisers’ hype and hyperbole, each one intent upon making this Christmas the one that would go down in the record books as the most costly one to date. So, sit a moment and catch your breath before starting to pack Christmas away for another year, and let’s look at what we need to do to make this year one to remember.
Last month we talked about where to find new inspirations for how to improve our standard of living. (Since it has been such a busy month, here is a refresher – we want to ask God to help us use the fruits of the Spirit more in our daily lives.) To me, it naturally follows that now we should tackle how to improve our chances of sticking to our new resolutions. The best design for improvement is just more wishing in the dark if we don’t put forth the effort to see it through. With that in mind, here is a suggestion or two.
First off, decide right now to make it a practice to review your goal(s) and the means of achieving it(them) daily. Start each morning refreshing your memory and noting what progress you have made. If you did not make any progress, that’s fine. Admit that you didn’t and commit to doing better today. The important thing is to not give up. It is also important not to stress about it. We are not following the “no pain, no gain” theory here.
Next, use an appropriate form to remind yourself of your goal and course of action. Some prefer low-tech so Post-it® notes on the mirror, refrigerator door, or some other daily accessed location will work. People who like high-tech options can set up alarms on computers, tablets, and cell phones to remind them. I don’t know which actually works best, but as long as you are reminded, it will be enough.
But let me offer another option. How about setting a time for reading your Bible and a devotion, and then spending a moment in prayer? If you make your goal and course of action a matter of daily prayer, not only will you stand a better chance of making measurable progress, but you will also be talking with the one who is best able to help you accomplish your goal.
Why all of this effort? The answer is quite simple: we are to be the hands and feet of Christ in the world. We are to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give shelter to the homeless, comfort the sick and dying, and visit those in prison. In short, our lives are for God’s use so that all might hear the Good News and live in the kingdom of heaven/God. And, as all are the children of the one God, we are talking about our sisters and brothers here.
There is much conversation these days about how our churches are suffering attendance loss. It is so much a problem that book shelves cannot hold all of the new help manuals and guidebooks. If we stop for a moment and think about it, I believe we will see that our problem is really that people who do not know the love of God are having a hard time seeing it in us. Thus, they smile and pass us by when we invite them to worship with us. So, our decision to improve our lives by using the gifts we have been given can have the effect of showing the love of God in action and that is something people are more likely to respond to.
So, I pray that you will have great success with your resolutions for the new year. May God use us to accomplish that which we are uniquely created for and may God be praised in our efforts.
Grace and peace,
Pastor Braxton ><>