This week I’ve been thinking about resolutions. I’ve bypassed the common ones like “getting down to ____ pounds by eating better” and ones that center on breaking other bad habits.
This year I’m more focused on spiritual goals. In fact, our Bible study teacher, Marie, on Tuesday asked, “What’s your spiritual goal for 2011?”
Marie gave us a little journal in which to write the goal we came up with in class. I wrote: “to become more and more like Jesus, so that when people look at me, they no longer see Elaine, but they see Jesus and want to know, love, and serve Him and receive Him as Savior.”
I confess I often fall short of being like Jesus. If people are gossiping, I tend to join in. If people are negative and complaining, I add my cynical comments. But this year I want things to be different.
In fact, the word “different,” is the word I want to hear as evidence that I’m reaching my goal. People have said it to me before. “You are really different,” or “What makes you so different?” These comments are open doors to tell them about Jesus and the difference He’s made and is making in my life.
I want to more often be a sweet fragrance like the Word speaks of:
We Christians have the unmistakable “scent” of Christ, discernible alike to those wo are being saved and to those who are heading to death. To the latter it seems like the deathly smell of doom, to the former it has the refreshing fragrance of life itself. 2 Corinthians 2:15-16 (Phillips translation)
Yes, that’s what I want to be–a “refreshing fragrance.”
Marie encouraged us there are three things to focus on that would help us reach our spiritual goal for 2011–prayer, fasting, and giving.
I realized as I wrote those words in my journal that I had been more focused on other things rather than these three basics of the faith. My prayer life has been faltering because of so much unanswered prayer. Fasting has seemed harder as I get older, and my giving has been done lately not so much at the Lord’s direction but as duty.
Marie encouraged us to join her and others on a 21-day fast starting January 9th, and I have embraced the challenge. God has led me to eliminate certain foods during that time.
In our little journals we also wrote down the “serious needs in our families.” It is in the midst of difficult family situations I need to be the sweet fragrance of Christ. Prayer, fasting, and giving will make a difference as I listen to the Lord and His leadings in these hard circumstances.
I am excited about what God is going to do in 2011. I believe there will be breakthroughs in my life and in the lives of those I’m praying for.
The little saying that keeps coming to mind is as I reflect on how far God has brought me as a Christian and how He wants to bring me so much farther this year is: “I’m not yet where I want to be, but thank God I’m not where I was.” This is a process, and I am determined to be joyful in the journey of becoming more and more like Jesus.
How about you? Have you made resolutions or spiritual goals for 2011? Are you willing to lean on God more fully, so you can reach them and give Him the glory? How about being more dedicated to prayer, fasting, and giving to help you reach your spiritual goals? God has given us tools. Let’s use them in 2011.