When most people set New Year’s resolutions, they take a look at their lives and ask what they most ‘want’ to change, not often what they ‘need’ to change. It tends to be along the lines of ‘I want to lose weight’ or ‘I want to be healthier, therefore I should change how I eat, sleep, exercise, etc’. Wants and needs are not always in the same ballpark. I would estimate that most of us would seldom ask others what we need to change, because you know, they might suggest something we don’t like, or that would offend us. Simply, we are afraid of what they might say, so we don’t ask. Does this ring true in other areas as well? I don’t want to talk to them about Jesus because they might think I’m weird or something. There are many ways that we are prisoners of our own fears.
Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:4-5
Have you ever made a resolution to spend more time in prayer or the Word? If you would ask most Christians if they should read the bible or pray more, I would guess most everyone would say,’I probably should.’ This is something we should all ‘test’ out to see what happens. Even if it is a commitment to read through the New Testament, or to just spend a set number of days, weeks, or months in the Word, share with at least one other person whether or not it changes anything in your life. Maybe even ask what benefit it is for others and not just how it affects you. Also, remember that it is not a true test if we ‘try’ a few times and fail to follow through on the time we commit.
So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty,but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11
At what point in our faith walk do we transition from telling God what we want to asking God what He wants? When we are young, most of our prayers are fairly selfish, asking for help or answers in our work or personal lives. Not that we shouldn’t ask, but most of our concern is for what we think will benefit us most. When we start to ask more of what God wants from us and we actually start to listen, we find that the attention moves away from us and toward how we can be used by God to accomplish a greater purpose in our lives. It is a change that starts to diminish anger, frustration, and selfishness, and produces greater fruits of the Spirit in our lives, almost without exception.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5
So, if you are willing, conduct a small test this week:
Ask God what changes you should make in your life and listen to what He tells you, not out of guilt or condemnation, but because He wants something better for you. Don’t just ask once and be done, but keep asking Him to show you what He wants in all areas of your life. This is a fearful proposition for many, but one with great rewards to those willing to listen.
If not already doing so, make a plan to get in the Word and pray at a consistent time and place. Make it happen for even just 2 weeks and let me know the result. Though I shouldn’t be, I am often surprised about where God leads me when I commit time to Him. Wishing you all the best when you are willing to ask tough questions and change it up for the better.
Yours in Christ,