What does your New Year’s resolution list look like? If you’re anything like me, it looks like this: work out every day, eat right, wake up early, read more, save money, etc. Every year I make a New Year’s resolution list, and every year I fail to follow through with it! I usually make this extensive list with all sorts of things that I know I will never do, but I’m always convinced that in the New Year I will have a new, positive attitude. I pretty much set myself up for failure EVERY YEAR!! I tell myself that this is the year that I’m going to do things right and then something comes and I’m immediately thrown off track. In an instant I’m back to my old habits. I have a difficult time staying focused. Does this sound familiar?
I recently thought about struggles and trials that I went through in 2013 and was saddened by how quickly I let these issues affect me. When something went wrong, I got upset and would complain and gripe rather than turn to God for guidance and support. One thing I realized is that no matter what circumstances I am going through, I have one Constant in my life: Jesus Christ. Because of this, I have no reason to complain or gripe. I’m not saying that this will never happen – I am human and am emotional – but what I am saying is that no matter what the world throws my way, the joy that I have in Jesus Christ can never be taken away. As I grow in my relationship with Jesus Christ, I have realized that the afflictions we face in this world are temporary. Amidst the trials and temptations, we must have a divine viewpoint, which only comes from spending time with Jesus Christ and fixing our eyes on Him. When we are able to do this, we are truly able to praise Him in trials.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 1:3-9
When we are tempted by Satan or are facing a trial, we must use it as an opportunity to look to God and depend on Him, rather that focus on the issue at hand. Depend on Him for guidance and strength. Our joy comes from the fact that we have a great inheritance in heaven waiting for us. We will soon spend eternity worshipping our Savior!! In light of that, the things of this world are not so important. The struggles we go through can be used by God to make us stronger and more faithful. It is our job to stay focused on Him and trust that, no matter what situation we are in, He can and will use us for His glory. When Paul asked Christ to remove his “thorn in the flesh,” the Lord responded with, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Paul realized that God was not going to remove the trial from his life, but would join him in that trial. This realization led him to respond with, “Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” Let’s strive to have faith like Paul and boast in our trials so that Christ’s power can dwell in us and that so that His name will ultimately be glorified.
So as we enter into 2014, I encourage you to stay focused on Jesus Christ. Don’t focus so much on the exhaustive New Year’s resolutions list, that can bog you down and get you discouraged. 2014 will definitely have its ups and downs for all of us, but it is important to keep our eyes fixed on Him. It is only through Jesus Christ that we will have true joy and satisfaction.