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New Year’s Resolutions for Christians

With the new year fast approaching it’s time again to be thinking about those pesky new years resolutions.  It is estimated that 100 million Americans will make new year resolutions and that 4 out of 5 will not keep these new resolutions. Below is a list of the most popular resolutions made each year.

  • Lose weight
  • Manage debt/save money
  • Get a better job
  • Get fit
  • Eat right
  • Get a better education
  • Drink less alcohol
  • Quit smoking
  • Reduce stress overall and/or at work
  • Take a trip
  • Volunteer to help others

I propose that we take a different approach for 2010.  If you are a Christian then you have the best guidance for making and keeping resolutions that anyone can have, the Holy Spirit.  Why not try to improve upon these nine characteristics of Christian life.

Galatians 5:22-23

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control.

Love

God set the example for us to follow when he sent His son as a sacrifice for each one of us.  He didn’t do it because we deserved it or because we earned it.  He did it because He could and because He wanted to.  This next year, why not try to show someone love without expecting anything in return and once you see how good that feels, try it again.  Pretty soon, showing love to others will become a way of life for you.

John 3:16
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Joy

Jesus endured the cross because of the joy it would bring us in the end.  Have you ever tried to pick someone out of a crowd that has no joy in their life?  Pretty easy isn’t it?  In 2010, why not try to be joyful. Even in our sufferings we can be joyful.  Jesus has already conquered death for us.  If you are joyful, then it is almost impossible for others around you not to feel joy, also.  Lets start a Joy Revolution.

Hebrews 12:2
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Peace

Peace is much like joy. It’s there for the taking. Jesus says he wants us to have peace. Why not be at peace with everyone and everything.  I wonder if we were at peace would we have all this stress heaped on us?  Would we naturally be healthier?  Only one way to find out.  In 2010, be at peace.

John 16:33
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Patience

It seems that today nobody has much patience. I’m trying to remember a story told by Bill Hybels about a time when he was traveling. Aboard the plane a man was complaining about sitting next to this young woman with some sort of problem. She was unable to control what she said or did and he didn’t like being next to her. Hybels offered to trade him seats and ends up spending the entire flight talking with the woman. After the flight landed one attendant came up to him and said, “You must be a Christian.”  He was surprised and said, yes he was, how did she know?  She replied that no one other than a Christian could have that much patience.  Does that story reflect you?  If not, 2010 would be a good year to make that your story.

1 Timothy 1:16
But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.

Kindness

There are a lot of people out there during this economic climate that sure could use some kindness.  Whether it is to help them with their problems or just a shoulder to lean on, people need kindness.  Since we should have an abundance of it, why not try to show it in 2010.

Ephesians 2:7
in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

Goodness

Always endeavor to be good and do good.  Living a moral life and looking for the good in others can be the best witness a Christian can have.  Why not spend 2010 being good and doing good things for others.

2 Peter 1:3
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

Faithfulness

Living by faith is by far the strongest example of Christian living.  If we knew everything that was going to happen before it did then what kind of life would that be?  We trust God to provide and protect—that is having faith.  Why not use 2010 to increase your faith.  Do something to stretch your faith.  Step out into a new ministry where you don’t know, for sure, how it is going to work out.

Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see

Gentleness

I wonder what it would be like if we treated everyone the same way we treat a newborn baby. Careful and gentle, not wishing to injure or harm them.  What if everyone else treated you that way?  I wonder what kind of world we would live in?  Well, it has to start somewhere, so why not with you?  Why not decide to be gentle with everyone you encounter in 2010.

Ephesians
4:2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Self-Control

Imagine if you were the poster child for self-control.  What would you be like?  Would you always think before you spoke?  Would you never impulse-shop?  Would you never loose your temper with anyone?  Would you never be tempted to do the wrong thing when no one is looking?  Probably not, because everyone would look at you when they thought of self-control.  If you don’t qualify as the self-control poster child, why not begin working on that in 2010.

2 Peter 1:5-7
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.

December 29, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 1 Comment

Human Emotion #2 Joy

Wikipedia doesn’t have a definition for Joy. Joy points to Happiness. So okay I can handle that. The definition for Happiness from Wikipedia

Happiness is a state of mind or feeling characterized by contentment, satisfaction, pleasure, or joy. A variety of philosophical, religious, psychological and biological approaches have striven to define happiness and identify its sources.

Philosophers and religious thinkers often define happiness in terms of living a good life, or flourishing, rather than simply as an emotion. Happiness in this older sense was used to translate the Greek Eudaimonia, and is still used in virtue ethics.
Why is it that so many people go throughout life without any joy?

 

From the Spiritual Practices website

Joy is an essential spiritual practice growing out of faith, grace, gratitude,
hope, and love. It is the pure and simple delight in being alive. Joy is our
elated response to feelings of happiness, experiences of pleasure, and awareness
of abundance. It is also the deep satisfaction we know when we are able to serve
others and be glad for their good fortune.

So how do you find Joy? That seems to be a basic question many people have today. Just turn on the news and you will find no joy, only sadness. Look at the economy and there is certainly no joy there. So I scoured the internet in search of Joy. And then I found it. Right there in front of me. 50 ways to find Joy.

Did you know that petting your dog or cat brings you joy? It does, number 4 on the list. Going to bed earlier, brings you joy. Then all of a sudden there it was. Number 11, Look to the heavens. Stare at the stars? Okay, I don’t get it. But, hey if that brings you joy. Did you know that climbing a tree will bring you joy. Nobody tell Robin, okay. Our insurance rates can’t handle it. How about a tea party, anyone? That’s number 17 by the way.

Take a detour, now that always brings joy. Number 25 buy bear gifts. Huh? Number 26, How about jumping up and down. I’m sure it doesn’t always bring joy when your children do that at Walmart. Number 33, get involved in politics. Right, that is always joyful. Number 37 may get you arrested, blast your stereo and sing as loud as you can. If that doesn’t work try cleaning your bathroom. Oh joy. Number 46, Do the Twist. “Oh let’s twist again like we did last summer, let’s humm, mumm, again like we did mumble mumble. I never said I could sing.” Can you say trip to the chiropractor?

Anyway I think you get the picture. These methods of finding joy seem so temporary, so short-term. Surely there must be something better, something more permanent

I think that the only place to look for joy is to look to God. Read the following verses to know where joy comes from.

John 15:11

I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be
complete.

John 16:24

Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive,
and your joy will be complete.

Acts 13:52

And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

How do we recieve joy?
Acts 16:34

The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole family.

Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Galatians 5:22

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

1 Peter 1:8

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,

Does joy exist only in the good times?
2 Corinthians 8:2

Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.

1 Thessalonians 1:6

You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.

James 1:2

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,

Hebrews 12:2

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

That’s one of my favorite verses, by the way.

We should be joyful when we pray.
Colossians 1:10-12

And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.

When should we be joyful?
1 Thessalonians 5:16

Be joyful always;

We don’t need anyone’s list of 50 ways to find joy. We have joy in the person of Jesus Christ. If you are in him you can’t help but be joyful. Can you?

Comments on Facebook, please.

August 26, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment