Declared every year and seldom ever accomplished. What’s that saying-- "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different result?"
Here were some of the top resolutions for 2017:
Live Life to the Fullest
Learn New Hobbies
Spend Less/Save More- Become Wealthier
What is the one common theme in all of the above?
They are all about selfness- being focused on yourself.
Here is a novel thought… how about this new year we all do something genuinely new?
Instead of the same old same- implement an upside-down resolution. Make the new year more than just about yourself!
The Bible tells us in Romans 12:2- “Do not conform to the pattern of this world; rather be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve God’s will - His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Do you realize that Jesus modeled and taught ideas and ways to live that were not only counter-cultural, but radically different than our standard inclinations?
The world expected a mighty Messiah yet, Jesus appeared as a defenseless baby.
The world says be smarter, be better, be healthy, be wealthy- Jesus says give up everything and follow me. Serve me. Serve others. “The last will be first, and the first will be last.” ~Matthew 20:16
The world says fight for your rights, your freedoms- Jesus gave up His deity, His power and willingly died a criminal’s death on a cross despite His innocence.
The world judges on the outward appearance; the Lord looks at our hearts.
The world says live life to the fullest; you deserve comfort and happiness; Jesus paints a different picture- “Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?" ~Matthew 16:24-26
Jesus was an upside-down kinda guy- He saw the world through a different perspective, and He expects that those who claim to love Him and want to follow Him need to be upside-down people too!
If we are to model Christ and we are called to do something different- how do we become upside-down with upside-down goals?
FIRST- Get to Know Christ and Imitate His Humility:
“Therefore, if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!" ~ Philippians 2:1-8
SECOND- Discover Your God-given Talents/Gifts AND Start Using Them!
“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” ~Romans 12:6-8
THIRD- Love Large.
"Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. ~Romans 12:9-18
Contrary to popular belief- the world indeed does NOT revolve around us!
This year- be different. Declare an upside-down resolution to focus on Christ and put love into action.
It just might be the one resolution that finally works!
Father, thank you for a new year and for the gift of Christ who demonstrates the way to truth and life. Help us in this upcoming year to begin a new thing- to focus on Christ first, develop our talents and gifts to serve and to love others with an intensity that honors you. You make all things new- so help us Lord to become new followers of you in this new year.
"And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” ~ Revelation 21:5