Thrive Part 1
It’s that time of year again. Resolution time! How many of you make New Year’s resolutions? Okay. How many stick with your resolution all year? Six months? 3 months? A week?
Let’s look at a couple statistics…
According Inc.com, in 2019, here are the top 10 New Year’s resolutions according to a survey of 2,000 people:
1. Diet or eat healthier (71 percent)
2. Exercise more (65 percent)
3. Lose weight (54 percent)
4. Save more and spend less (32 percent)
5. Learn a new skill or hobby (26 percent)
6. Quit smoking (21 percent)
7. Read more (17 percent)
8. Find another job (16 percent)
9. Drink less alcohol (15 percent)
10. Spend more time with family and friends (13 percent)
“Researchers say about 60 percent of us make New Year’s resolutions but only about 8 percent are successful in achieving them.”
What disturbed me most…? Building up our spiritual life, serving God, praying more, nothing of the sort made the top ten list. Given all the events of 2020-2022, building up our spiritual lives, serving God, loving our neighbor, living in fellowship, praying more would have made a huge difference.
In a time of resolutions, what does it mean to be resolute? I’m glad you asked…
Dictionary.com says resolute means to be admirably purposeful, determined, unwavering!
Do you think this person was resolute to accomplish the task of climbing this cliff face? I used to rock climb as a teen in Colorado. For me, and I am afraid of heights, it took a lot of determination to climb 100 and 200 foot faces, nothing like what she is doing. She had to be very resolute to climb that cliff.
Joshua was also extremely resolute. He was absolutely determined to follow the Lord. Listen to what he says…
If you have no desire to worship the Lord, choose today whom you will worship, whether it be the gods whom your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living. But I and my family will worship the Lord!”
Joshua 24:15 NET
In the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, the word here, λατρεύω “lä-tryü’-ō” for “worship”, some other translations say “serve”. It’s because throughout the New Testament the word refers to ministering to God or rendering homage or worship. WORSHIP equals SERVICE and personal SACRIFICE!
If we are going to resolve to do anything this year, maybe we should resolve to emulate Joshua and serve the Lord!
Jesus speaks about this heart issue himself in his letter written by John in Revelation to the Church at Laodicea. He says,
‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot! So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of my mouth!
Revelation 3:15-16 NET
If we are resolute about anything, maybe we should be hot for the Lord…! Maybe we should let his Spirit burn brightly in us! Be on fire for the Lord and shine brightly.
Paul tells his readers in Philippi,
Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ so that – whether I come and see you or whether I remain absent – I should hear that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, by contending side by side for the faith of the gospel,
Philippians 1:27 NET
Maybe we should be absolutely determined to act in a manner which would make God proud to call us his children…
I suggest we, as the body of Christ have one united New Year’s Resolution.
We are going to take it SLOW in 2023!
Let me explain what I mean, get ready to take a quick note…
SLOW stands for:
S-serve. Serve God, serve one another, and serve our communities, fulfill the Great Commission to “make disciples” Matthew 28:19-20 and remembering Colossians 3:23-24.
L-love. Love God, love one another, love your neighbor. Remember that is the first and greatest commandment. Matthew 22:37-40
O-obey. Obey God’s precepts and commands found in the only inspired authoritative source of revelation from God. His Word. If there is a conflict between God’s Word and our cultural standards, God’s Word wins. If there is a conflict between His Word and another culture’s standards, God’s Word wins. We must season the truth with LOVE, not driving unbelievers further from grace and shouldn’t expect those who do not have a relationship with God to obey the commandments that God established for his children, but as his Children, we should obey our Father’s will. ‘By this we know that we love the children of God: whenever we love God and obey his commandments.’ 1 John 5:2 NET
W-worship. Worship our Father in heaven, worship his Son, Jesus, our Savior, worship the Holy Spirit inside us, who helps us and guides us. Worship through love, prayer, work, service, obedience, song, teaching, learning… Remembering again Colossians 3:23-24. Everything we can do is an act of Worship. Remember worship equals service and personal sacrifice.
Here is our New Year’s Resolution… Take it SLOW. Act SLOW. Be SLOW.
Be purposeful, determined, and unwavering; Be resolute; to SLOW up!
Maybe you’re visiting this morning, maybe this all sounds new to you, maybe you’ve fallen away and haven’t made your relationship with God a priority, maybe you don’t have a relationship with God as your Father at all…or, maybe you aren’t even sure God does exist… You’re only here because it’s the holidays and someone invited you… Or, you’re in pain and seeking answers…
I have a resolution for you as well. Commit. Commit to learning more, commit to asking the hard questions, commit to seeking the truth, commit to having an open mind, commit to restoring that estranged relationship with God, commit to turning your life over to God’s care and control…
Then, take it SLOW!
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