This is my year…Part 1
The New Year is full of possibilities that fuel the potential for a better future. That’s why we make resolutions . . . even though those resolutions often fall by the wayside. But there’s something simple you can do to make the most of this year. It begins by looking past what you think is possible in your life, to what God thinks is possible. Is this the year?
Something To Talk About:
- Be clear in your direction: God is ready to guide and lead us. He is willing to keep us on course. If we make mistakes, He can correct us and help us move in the right direction. We might find ourselves on bumpy roads filled with potholes, on winding roads where we feel insecure, or on mountainous paths that seem hard to climb. But He can make every path smooth and lead us home. What a wonderful promise. But how can we make them true in our lives? We make them work for us by putting aside our own thoughts, not trying to figure everything out, surrendering our lives to Him, calling on Him constantly, and acknowledging Him .
- Be confident in your desires: “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.” ( Psalm 37:4-6) Everyone has goals in life and some we can reach on our own, but some take a little more help. There are things that we desire that only God can give us. C.S. Lewis observed, “God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.” God designed humans to find pleasure and fulfillment in Him. All other pleasures have their proper place only in relation to this overarching delight in the Lord. As Paul wrote, “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)
- Be committed to your decision: How deep is your spiritual commitment? You made the decision to receive life from Jesus Christ, right? But have you made a commitment to surrender, to give everything, to commit your will to Him, and let His Word guide your life? When it comes to your commitment to Jesus Christ, God does not force you to enlist in His cause; He invites you. Paul is suggesting action when he says, “…offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God…” (Romans 12:1) Paul is saying to give yourself as a living sacrifice to God. He is talking about commitment.
- Be corrected by your defeats: Or using a different word, learn from our mistakes. Mistakes give us a chance to adapt and move on. At times, we head in the wrong direction and we just don’t know it. So making a mistake can be a learning experience. It allows us to shift our thinking, our actions, and our direction. Making a mistake gives us an opportunity to avoid a wall and move to another path. When we take responsibility for our mistakes, we gain the respect of others and we learn a life lesson that will keep us from making that mistake again. And we experience humility in our mistakes—and that humility keeps our ego in check and opens the door for us to experience God
- Be conscious of God’s dependability: From the first chapter of Scripture, the Bible makes a case for the dependability of God. Without exception when God spoke, something wonderful happened. By divine command, there was light, land, beaches, and creatures. God consulted no advisers. “He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.” (Romans 4:21). God is dependable, and because God is dependable, His promises are unbreakable and our hope is unshakable, Whatever we are doing, whatever barriers we are facing we need to be conscious of God’s dependability. When we depend on God, we get what God can do. Depending on God means we rely on Him and depend on His reliability. Depending on God means that God is bigger, greater, and better than me – and He loves me greatly.
- What are some of your goals for 2023? What would it look like if this was your year?
- What distracts you from focusing on the change or the spiritual formation you desire that will make this your year?
- Think about your past attempts to change. Have you made resolutions or sweeping promises to change? How well did it work?
- What does it mean to be clear in your direction? What steps do we need to ensure our life is not aimless?
- What does it mean to be confident in your desires? How does that apply to our lives today?
- What does it mean to be committed to your decision? From where should all of our commitments flow? What happens to our talents and dreams as soon as we are committed to God’s will?
- What is the difference between commitment and bargaining?
- Do we learn from the mistakes that are in our past; the things that we know are wrong that need to be put right? Do we put them right?
- God is completely dependable: What does this mean for us as His people? What implications does that have for our relationship with Him? How can you remember God’s dependability in times of pain and in times of prosperity? Praise God for being totally dependable.
- What part of the message resonated with you? Any particular applications you took from today’s message?
Take One Thing Home with You:
God never changes. Remember that God is still in control. He is still on the throne. He is still calling the shots. Yes, we have a will and yes we will make bad choices and yes, we will face circumstances that are not of our doing. But, God controls how it will all work out. Not us.
There are things we can’t control and be out of control often results in fear. But what we can control, is our attitude and our response when circumstances zap our hope and have faith in God that He is in control and things will work according to His plans. The truth is you cannot handle everything that happens to you in your life, but God can, Lamentations 5:17 says “Our hearts are sick and weary, and our eyes grow dim with tears.” But verse 19 adds, “But Lord, you remain the same forever! Your throne continues from generation to generation.”
So in the midst of circumstances beyond our control, remember that God still loves us and He’s never going to stop loving us and that He is all we need: “I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!” (Lamentations 3:24).