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Wednesday, January 04, 2017

The Strength to Succeed In New Year's Resolutions

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


I am going to make a statement. It might sound or feel like a discouraging statement but it’s not so don’t take it that way. Are you ready? Okay, here we go. Life is a life-long battle of spiritual warfare. To those that are Bible readers and have learned such things, you may be more acutely aware of this truth. To those that haven’t read what God’s Word has to say about it, you’ve still experienced it first hand. It's definitely in our face the first day back to work and life after the new year—the day we officially say is the fresh start of our New Year resolutions.

You've meditated on your New Year resolution and with good intention have it firmly planted in your mind. The anticipation for the kick-off of the new resolution(s) are even high. Day one comes and some don’t make it even four hours into the day without breaking it. Some make it through the entire day and are high-fiving themselves in the mirror. They beat their chest and say, I can do this! Day 2, bring it on!  Day 2 comes but with interruptions. A situation presents itself that tempts to break the resolution and calls for a greater strength than just a good intention. This is where the boys are separated from the men. (Or girls from the women?) Actually, this is where the warfare comes into serious play. The enemy of your soul who passionately wants to blow up your life, wants you to succeed at nothing that improves your quality of life—especially if it draws you closer to God. He has plenty of wrenches to mess up your carefully laid plans.

Expect opposition in the preparation of good intentions. Spiritual warfare is real. Satan worked to stop Jesus and he’ll work to stop you. You are God’s creation—God’s most intimate love! You represent everything that Satan hates. So, he’s against you—seriously! This is real! 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NIV) reveals: "For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."

Pages could be and have been written on this subject but something simple to help you get started is to first know that anytime you want to develop a godlier lifestyle and draw closer to God—it’s a good thing! God is for you! It is a good intention. Go for it! But, know this: know that you will be opposed. Just knowing that helps you grit your teeth, take a more serious stance and strengthen your conviction about good change. Secondly, don’t kid yourself into thinking you can do it without God’s help. Jesus never failed. That's a power-thought to meditate on! His conviction was rooted in His Father’s will and His love for us! It was far more than a good intention.

I've never made my success or influence about me! It has a higher cause! It is about reaching others in every way possible with the message, love, and support of God's Word. I've always done that in the work place. Not by preaching all day, but by being the love of Jesus to those around me. Care, kindness, friendliness, compassion—it changes lives. The more ways I succeed in life and the greater equipping and influence it allows me, the more I can do for God. So my desire to succeed in every part of my life is not about me. It has a higher cause. It's about you. God's love in me for you is a higher cause than just doing it for myself (which gets old and boring.)

And finally, you saw that Jesus continually prayed. It was the source of His strength while living in human flesh. His communion with His Father filled His tank, strengthened Him, and renewed His wisdom and power again and again. Pray has to be our source of strength also. If you think you can get your good intentions established on willpower alone, you are sorely deceived! Oh, I know there are some that get some things done on willpower alone, but they have their life of secret failures they aren’t talking about.

Pray for the unmovable conviction and intention mentioned in Psalm 33:11 (NLT) "But the Lord's plans stand firm forever; His intentions can never be shaken." Pray in the authority of the name of Jesus and rebuke ever attempt of the enemy to get you to cave. You’ve got weapons to shut down your foe! And then be like the Lord—"...stand firm forever; Your intentions can never be shaken." Fulfill those resolutions in His strength and praise God as you do!

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

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