2018 is here, filled with possibilities! Opportunity and a fresh start are the values we find in the coming of a new year, but really every new day offers the same promise. Any chance we get to move forward and leave the past behind is a path worth taking, and the option is given to us each day.
What are your goals?
It seems everyone is looking for motivation and inspiration to accomplish their goals and objectives this year. Surely you have considered areas of your life that need improvement, steps you should take in your growth journey with the Lord, and ways to love and lead your family better. You may also have occupational targets you want to hit, physical wellness milestones to reach, and perhaps a new hobby or recreational activity you’d like to pursue.
Every time I set new goals for myself, I tend to be ambitious. I believe I can accomplish anything I set my mind and heart to, and I believe in my God who is for me. Philippians 4:13 serves as a constant reminder of our potential with Jesus as our strength. However, around this time of year, I am also reminded of what the word potential really means. As an influential leader in my life says, “Potential just means you haven’t done squat yet.”
How will you accomplish those goals?
In order to accomplish the goals and objectives you have for yourself, you actually have to put in the time, energy, and effort necessary to achieve desired results. It will not be easy because life never gets easier, but anything can be done with the strength of Jesus and unwavering determination to make this year different. The hope of better, not easier, is the promise of Jesus in John 16 when he assures his disciples that he will send the Helper, the Holy Spirit, to be their peace and their guide.
It is never easy to change, but it is always necessary. No one is ever meant to stay the same. Some people tend to resist change while others thrive on it. I think we can all agree change sounds good at times, but we ultimately end up resisting or quitting when difficulty and unwillingness emerge. Another quote I read recently reminded me of what’s really going inside of us when necessary changes become apparent:
“It costs what it costs. Greatness never goes on sale.”
Is it worth the risk?
You have the desire, God is on your side, and the new year presents a clean slate. However, any change, any desired result, any step of growth, any new commitment – they all have price tags. It will cost you. It may be more than you’re willing to pay, and the price is never reduced. With every goal you set, you have to weigh the real costs involved.
If you truly want to grow spiritually this year, that goal will cost you all the selfishness that held you back last year. If you truly want to see your body change, that goal will cost you the laziness and lack of discipline that has hindered your results in the past. If you want to be a better husband, a better mother, a better friend, or a better leader, you will have to give up the attitudes and behaviors that have derailed your progress time and time again.
You don't have to do it alone!
One of the great mysteries of the gospel is that God never forces us to do anything. The opportunity to choose Him and to choose His will for our lives is a precious gift, but it’s a gift we often mismanage. It would be easier if we had no decisions to make and God forced us to live in a way that pleases Him. Nevertheless, He allows us to choose, and it’s always easier to pick ease and comfort over surrender and uncertainty.
God never shows us everything that’s ahead, and the path towards His plans and purposes for our lives is never the smoothest option. Philippians 4:6-7 instructs us about how to respond when we are forced to lean on God and trust His character and nature over our insecurity and doubt.
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
It’s a new year. Change is inevitable. Plentiful opportunity lies before you. Worthwhile change will cost you. Pay the price, whatever it may be. Goals that come with a cheap price tag are not goals worth having. God will be glorified, and you will be satisfied in the choice to honor Him. Live an obedient, surrendered life this year. Commit your activity to the Lord and your plans will succeed. You will never regret living God’s way.