Three Things You MUST Stop Doing This Year.
Don’t let these things rob you of the abundant life God has for you this year!
New Year’s resolutions are usually things we need to start doing like exercising, dieting and saving money. However, I want to challenge Christ followers in 2015 to make unequivocal commitments to stop doing three things that rob us of the full life God created us to live.
1. Stop Playing Owner.
We may believe the statement, “God owns everything” —but very rarely do most of us live this way. We live more like owners. God’s ownership may sound good in theory, but practically, day-by-day, we live as though this stuff is ours.
Here’s the problem: We end up in bondage to the things we pretend we own.
Think about your attitude toward your money. How much time do you spend worrying about losing it, working overtime to increase it, envying others who have more of it, anxiously trying to protect it and stressing over whether you have enough of it?
The spiritual reality is, whatever we think we own ends up owning us. And sadly, the fruit of ownership is often stress, fear, anxiety, discouragement and depression.
Be honest with yourself. In 2014, were you in bondage to the things you pretended you owned? If so, its time to be set free.
Start this year by embracing the joyful call as a steward of what is God’s and God’s alone.
Here is a first step. Pile on a table all of your symbols of ownership: the deed to your house, the title to your cars, the financial reports on your retirement accounts and portfolios, your marriage certificate, your children’s birth certificates, you get the picture. Think of everything over which are tempted to play the owner, and put some symbol of it on that pile on the table. Now stand next to that table and give it it all back to God. Get on your knees if you need to, but release all of this back to him. He owns it anyway, so this is just a reminder that we were created to be stewards of the good things guide gave to us, and never to know the bondage of ownership.
Stand over your table and pray for the freedom and peace that is the fruit of the life of the steward. Commit 2015 to developing a closer relationship with the owner that you might hear His leading for how to manage, invest, spend and save what he has entrusted to you. Claim the abundant life of the steward in 2015. It is the way God wants you to live, how he created you to live and for which we will equip you to live.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?… So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:25-34
2. Stop Fixating on Doing.
A nefarious tactic of the enemy is to get you so focused on what you are trying to do for God that you have no time left for what God wants to do in you. Sound familiar?
Too many of us are doing ourselves to death, and justifying it by claiming it is ‘God’s work’.
It’s time to STOP. Christ did not come to fill our days, nights and weekends with endless tasks or to call us into jobs that burn us out and leave us exhausted. That is the lie of the enemy.
Jesus asked us to follow Him, and He reminded us that His burden is easy and His yoke is light. His deepest desire is that you be fruitful and grow as a faithful, obedient and joyful child of God and disciple of Jesus Christ.
The fruit He is looking for is the fruit of the Spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control (Galatians 5:22-23). Read over the list and ask yourself if your life oozes with these traits. If not, what is keeping you from living this way? Are you focused on the wrong fruit? If he wants our lives to overflow with the fruit of the Spirit why are we so fixated on the accumulation of our accomplishments?
Remember Mary and Martha.
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Matthew 10: 41-42
Only one thing is needed! One thing! What is that one thing – it is Jesus; knowing him, loving Him and following Him at the expense of everything else.
Has your focus on working for God eliminated any time for letting God work in you? In 2014, what did your use of time, talents and treasures say about your real goals in life? Are you doing yourself to death at the expense of becoming the person God created you to be? Then it is time to STOP!
What will you STOP doing this year that will free up the time for you to START making yourself available for God’s work in you? It will require surrender, refocus, intentional time with God in prayer, meditation on His word, listening for his voice and Sabbath rest.
3. Stop Being Quiet.
There is a moral collapse threatening our country and it is being met by a shattering silence of God’s people.
Make no mistake the enemy loves our silence, our apathy and our unwillingness to speak out. He will do anything to keep us quiet. He threatens us with the possibilities of negative reactions, labeling, angering people we know or having people dislike us for what we believe. He wants us to be private with our faith, cautious with our opinions, quiet about our concerns and absent from the square of public debate.
Consider the challenge from Jesus,
“Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 10:32-33
In 2014, did you speak out on the issues that affect your faith? Did you stand against injustice, speak out for the poor and voiceless, actively engage in the dialogues around the morals and values that shape our nation? If not, did you confess or deny Christ by your inactions, absence and silence in 2014? Were you willing to pay the price? Remember Scripture’s words,
“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” John 15:18-19
Is the name of Jesus more important to us than the hatred of the world?
This next year, STOP being quiet and commit to step out boldly to proclaim Christ’s name, the reign of the kingdom of God, and the call on every human being to repent and turn to the God who created and redeemed them. Stop giving the enemy a victory by your silence. Together, let’s speak the love and truth of Christ into our culture, whether they accept it or not.
There is a more abundant, fulfilling and impactful life for you this year than the one you are living now.
Stop playing the owner, fixating on doing and keeping silent. Make this year the year of embracing the role of steward, pursuing Christ-likeness and standing up for your faith.
Start today, don’t delay. Your better life awaits. Here’s to a new year!