By Dr. Billy Holland
It’s the New Year and everyone is celebrating a fresh start and making resolutions. However, simply wishing that our lives would change for the better, is nothing more than a fantasy or whim that will not just magically happen. It is said that over eighty percent of resolutions fail within the first month. Why? We must develop a strong vision of what we desire to be and vow that nothing will keep us from accomplishing our goals. Asking God to help us is the key as He also wants the best for us.
I heard a story today from my pastor that I will pass along. A man was battling his weight and one of his weaknesses was the donut shop which was on his way to work. He would stop in every morning as he could not resist the lure to indulge. He decided to start taking an alternate route to work to avoid the temptation, but one day he decided to go the old way. He saw the donut shop and prayed, “Lord, if you say it’s alright for me to stop, then provide a parking place right next to the door.” After circling the building eight times, sure enough, a parking place was open. We laugh at our human reasoning, but our free will along with our old nature is very persuasive. We do what we want to do.
Christianity has many components. It’s Loving God and loving every person, it’s having a personal relationship with God, not being afraid to speak His truth; becoming a trained soldier, it’s a walk of purity and sanctification, it’s running a race, being a sacrifice, witnessing to everyone we meet, having a spiritual way of thinking, and for those who embrace Christ as Lord, it’s filled with persecution and Satanic attacks. We can sum the nature and character of God’s people down to a simple attribute and that is we are called to stand. Many will accept the gift of God’s grace for salvation and eternal security but are often not aware of the fine print details that are difficult. We like the good parts, especially when they are free, but standing for God will cost us everything.
The idea of standing firm for the faith has everything to do with believing what God has said. Let’s take a look at what the Bible says about standing for Him. Philippians 4:1 says, “Therefore, my brethren, dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown… stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved” In I Corinthians 15:1 the Apostle Paul writes of “the gospel… wherein ye stand” Romans 5:2 speaks of “this grace wherein we stand,” and Galatians 5:1 he challenges us to “Stand fast… in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free.”
Do you believe we are at the end of the age, and Jesus Christ is going to return soon. How do we know? 6000 years have passed since Adam and Eve were removed from the Garden, and now we are living at the beginning of year 7000. This symbolizes the seventh day which is the day of rest and represents the 1000-year millennial kingdom. Does this reveal how near His coming is? What will He find us doing, and in this light, what does standing for God mean for you?
How important is it to teach the younger ones about God? Children may outgrow their shoes, but they will never outgrow the positive and encouraging messages we leave with them. Are we too busy, are we afraid or do we not know what to say? It’s not about how smart we are or how much we can achieve, but our motive should be to allow God to empower us and work through us to accomplish His plans. In closing, an important lesson to learn about New Year’s resolutions is the calendar has nothing to do with our success. Just because it’s January, this will not make personal changes any easier (or more difficult, for that matter).
If you are considering rearranging your life, realize that God can help, but the passion and faith to transform comes from within you. Ellen Goodman once said, “We spend January walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched and painted. Maybe this year, to balance the list, let us examine the depths of our souls…not just focusing on flaws, but seeking potential.”
Dr. Holland is an ordained Christian minister, chaplain, and author. Read more about the Christian life at billyhollandministries.com