Baby New Year is four days old and I’m considering the annual traditions that I have in the past embraced:
- One Words
- 31 Day Series
- Read through the Bible in a Year plans
- New health regimen
- Promises to self to make this the Best. Year. Yet!
An opting out of all of them.
No, I’m not throwing away my Bible, or deciding to stop moving my life forward in the best possible way, but I am ditching what I find to be encumbrances and routine contrivances.
Instead by God’s grace and with every breath I take may I be the change I would like to see in the world. That I just do it instead of talking or writing about it! That every step — every thought, word, and action of mine — moves me closer to my ultimate objective in life.
To live and love like Jesus Christ.
Simple. Real. True. And earth-shattering once finally achieved.
Because the way I see it if I focus on this One then everything else falls in line. My utter abandonment and obedience to God is key to good living that fulfills the plans He has for me, makes Him smile, blesses those around me and gives me peace, hope and happiness.
If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
Jesus’ succinct sentence is more loaded than we realize having read it year after year, yet perhaps not doing it?
Keeping my focus straightforward and simple alleviates the self-imposed stress I have in the past experienced as my resolutions fell far short by year’s end — or maybe at the end of January?
I grew discouraged over my lack of stick-to-it-tiveness, feeling defeated.
But by putting first things first everyday, as a way of life, by choosing to follow God more closely than I did yesterday or last year, the objectives that elude my best laid plans and resolutions come true. Believing, trusting and obeying God whole-heartedly brings blessings that last, making my life better one day at a time: stronger marriage, better relationships, balanced finances, increased peace, pure joy. And even improved health.
My heartfelt prayer for you, my very dear friend, is that you may be as healthy and prosperous in every way are you are in soul. I was delighted when the brothers arrived and spoke so highly of the sincerity of your life—obviously you are living in the truth. Nothing brings me greater joy nowadays than hearing that “my children” are living “in the truth”.
3 John 2, J.B. Phillips New Testament
My soul is my will, my mind, my emotions. I can faithfully hike, do yoga daily and eat a Paleo diet, but if my soul is sick my life, and the lives of my loved ones, suffers. So I start by choosing to obey especially when. it. is. hard! Not just when everything is going well. And my mind is a major battlefield where obedience is first won or lost. My waking thoughts setting the tone of my day.
We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.
2 Corinthians 10:5 The Message
So may I choose thoughts carefully, rejecting all the fear-filled negative notions and reframing situations as much as possible in a more positive light.
From now on, brothers and sisters, if anything is excellent and if anything is admirable, focus your thoughts on these things: all that is true, all that is holy, all that is just, all that is pure, all that is lovely, and all that is worthy of praise.
And from here following all the other Commands of Christ. Each morning, as part of our couple devotions, my Michael reads us one of the page-long selections from this invaluable book in addition to scripture from our current reading of William Barclay’s Gospel of Mark. Both brother-authors encourage our obedience as they bring fresh insights to time-worn truths.
So whether it is January 4 or July 18 or December 31 we stay the course. Day in. Day out. In big and little matters no matter that we may stumble a time or two, or the news keeps me up all night, or the enemy employs lies that for a moment set me on edge.
There is One truth that never changes from January 1 to December 31 each and every year. Year after year after year…
Jesus Christ is always the same, yesterday, today and for ever. Do not be swept off your feet by various peculiar teachings. Spiritual stability depends on the grace of God, and not on rules of diet—which after all have not spiritually benefited those who have made a speciality of that kind of thing. God sent Jesus to show us Himself and forgives and takes away our sins making new life possible.
Hebrews 13:8, J. B. Phillips
One True North Light to the good life…
To receive my posts directly in your inbox, click this box today.