Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Make This Your New Year's Resolution! Now!

The most popular New Year's Resolution for 2013?  ...........Lose Weight. (This is from a secular survey by the Journal of Clinical Psychology published 12/13/12.) Here are the rest of the top-five most popular ones........2. Get organized, 3. Spend less save more, 4. Enjoy life, 5. Stay fit.  The survey said that 45% of all people make resolutions, but only 8% actually are successful in keeping them.

Those top five resolutions are good, but remember, this is a secular survey and not a spiritually-focused one. Maybe for you, it's always procrastinating to the last minute in choosing, or should I say remembering, to make a New Year's resolution. If you haven't decided yet whether to make one or not, or if you want to make one, but can't decide on a resolution, consider using mine this year:

My New Year's resolution for 2013................"Get to know God better."

Sounds simple and very general, but this resolution is founded on the words of the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 1:17, where he is writing to Christians at the church in Ephesus, describing his prayer for them.
  
"...asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God."

It doesn't matter if you currently don't know God at all, or if you have know Him for a long, long time, whatever your relationship is like now, you can always know Him better! And as Paul asks for us in the above verse, we need to gain "spiritual wisdom and insight" so that we may get to know God better. 

So here are three ways how you, as a Christian, can make this resolution happen and keep it going throughout the year........

1. Know God better through daily Bible reading.
First, commit to reading it daily, even if it is just a few verses a day. This will surely give you spiritual wisdom and insight. Where to start? - my thoughts are to start in the New Testament, perhaps one of the Gospels, like the book of John. Read a chapter a day, or if that's too much, read several verses a day, but read every day! After reading through a Gospel, which is basically the life of Christ, next read one or two of the Epistles (letters to Christians), such as Colossians or Ephesians. Then maybe the book of Acts (the history book of the early church). Then another Gospel, more Epistles, continuing through the New Testament at your own pace. After the New Testament, it's time to tackle Genesis, Exodus, and the rest of the Old Testament. It's better to read slowly with understanding than reading too fast. However, if you are really up for a challenge, try the "Chronological New Testament Bible Reading Plan" that I am starting on January 1 - see my last post.

2. Know God better through daily prayer.
By prayer, I mean basic conversation with the Lord. I'm not talking about formal prayer, but prayer that is simple dialogue with God, like you are talking to Him on a personal level. And this should be done throughout each day - not just in the morning, not just at night, but as you go about the day. 

3. Know God better through daily walking with Him
By walking with Him, I mean committing to 'doing life with Him' - and doing life with Him on a daily basis. Walking with the Lord translates into being a Christ follower - following His way, His truth, His teaching, His example. This involves submission and obedience. Walking with Him is being more than just claiming to be a Christian, it's being a Christian. It's more than words, it's how you live your life. And it's who you live you life for. Don't be like those in Titus 1:16, "They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him."

So what is it to know God?  Here is an interesting phrase.......to know God, is to be known by God! That's right.....to really know God, is to be known and acknowledged by God. This thought comes from Galatians 4:9, "But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles?"

"To know God, is to be known by God".....is a concept that is all about relationships. As your spiritual wisdom and insight grows, and your knowledge of who God is and what His expectations are, our relationship with Him grows - closer and closer, into an intimate Father/Child relationship. That's the type of relationship the Lord is looking for.

So if someone asks you, "What's your New Year's Resolution?" Just say, "to get to know God better." Then you can share three ways on how they can do the same.

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