Each year seems to be special in its on beautiful way. I love the freshness and excitement that a new year brings. Many people are all for “new year resolutions” and many people are completely against them. I’ve always been sort of in the middle of these two groups. I can take them or leave them. Well, that is until a couple of years ago when I changed my perspective on these “new year’s resolutions.” It started in college when I decided the best “resolution” or “goal” I could have each year was to make a spiritual one. I ask myself at the beginning of the new year, “How can I pursue Jesus more intimately?” I love the way that Hebrews 12:1-2 put it.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Let’s lay aside our sin. Every bit of it. Sin hinders our relationship with the Lord and negatively affects our relationships with others. We are called to run each and every day with endurance by keeping our eyes locked on Jesus.
The problem is sometimes I far too often feel comfortable on this earth. This is a serious problem because this earth is not our home. We are citizens of heaven and we are called to act like it (Philippians 3:20). We should feel like outsiders here. One of my greatest prayers is that I would never become complacent in my faith or that I would never become apathetic to the gospel.
The deal is when you truly understand the depth of your own sin and the even deeper depths of God’s grace it completely changes everything in your life. You begin wanting to pursue holiness not to be a better person or even to be a better Christian. You pursue holiness with the end goal being so that others can see Christ through your life and come to know Him as their personal Lord and Savior. It’s not a legalistic thing where one feels like they have to pursue holiness to earn their salvation. It’s away to pursue after Jesus more because you are awestruck by the fact that He pursued after a sinner like you first.
My goal for 2017 is to pursue holiness. I have a tendency to often sweep “smaller” sins under the rug. I’m officially done with that and ready to kick all sin in the tush. I want to pursue holiness in every aspect of my life, but they’re three ways in which I am specifically striving after it. They are listed below.
1) With my mouth.
“Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!”
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29
By this, I do not mean that I want to strive away from hard topics or truth that needs to be talked about, but to handle situations like this with as much love and grace as I can (Ephesians 4:17).
2) With slowing down and enjoying the Lord more.
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10
Sometimes…. well actually quite often my life is way too busy. Burn out is real. Especially when you try to rely on yourself. This is why it is so important to rely on the Lord in all that you do. I want to do this by spending more time in prayer and in studying His Word. To just abide in Him more. When I take things to the Lord before I take them to anyone else He changes my perspective.
“praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints” Ephesians 6:19
“do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:6-7
3) With Scripture memory.
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” Colossians 3:16
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9
My first memory verse of 2017 was very fitting. Here it is below.
“so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.” Ephesians 4:17
We are not called to be tossed about by the sins that use to so easily entangle us. We are to strive for holiness in our efforts to strive after Jesus. He is always more than enough. Why do I ever doubt Him?
Although I know I will fail every day in this striving for holiness, that’s okay because Jesus didn’t. He succeeded perfectly for you and for me. He pursued holiness with 100 percent excellency. Nothing we could ever do could earn our salvation. Jesus secured that on the cross when he proclaimed, “it is finished.” He did it all and He deserves all of the praise an glory. One way we can seek to honor Him is by living a life that is praise worthy to Him. He is more than worthy of all the praise that we could ever give Him. The last couple of weeks I have been obsessed with this song. I listen to it every morning before I get out of the bed.
What a wonderful Name it is.
What a wonderful Name it is.
The Name of Jesus Christ, my King.
Here is the link to it.
I’ll end this with asking you the same question I ask myself at the beginning of each new year the Lord gifts me with….
How can you pursue Jesus more intimately?