At the start of a new year, we might tell ourselves things like, “I’m going to start a new diet to improve my health, lose weight, and begin a new exercise program. I will give up drinking so many sodas. I will be nicer to my mate.” We entertain so many thoughts because of the new year.
Even though it’s important to set dates for our goals, the actual date cannot be our motivation for them. When it is, we set ourselves up to fail. If it’s because the year starts that we endeavor a new diet, we will give up when we miss it one day, and because the first will have gone by, so will our incentive. When the date is just part of the goal and we fail, we rise and try again and again until we succeed, no matter how many dates we set.
Every day is an opportunity to give another try to our aspirations. God’s mercies are new every morning! Every single morning. In God, every day is New Year’s Day! Hallelujah! Let’s do whatever He leads us to do, again and again, until dates no longer matter. Only Him and His faithfulness, from glory to glory!
Lamentations 3:22-23 “Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.”
When we make a choice that brings a change in our habits and our well-being, it’s important to take the time to prepare. The temptations come when we don’t know how to do what we have decided to do. The enemy tries to set us up for a step down from our place of obedience. The Spirit of God will lead us to set up for a step up.
Often defeat comes when preparation has not been put in place. In counting the cost of what we purpose to achieve, we must take into consideration what we have. When we decide to eat healthier, we need to shop, prepare meals and plan our week accordingly. When we prepare to fast from specific foods, we should not only make sure we don’t have these items around; we should make sure healthy alternatives are on hand. Even though there are some things for which we cannot prepare, wisdom is for us to do what we are able to do today, as led and enabled by the Lord.
When we prepare for a better job, a relationship or the next step up — we need to make sure nothing from our past, or present, can keep us bound. We walk away from the past, refuse to be stuck in today and are ready to step up into our future. Every step the Lord leads us to make is a step up from where we are to a better place, from glory to glory.
Philippians 3:13-14 “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Dedicating time to the Lord first thing in the morning must be a priority. It is a discipline that prepares us for what lies ahead. It puts our time in His hands, seeking His will, surrendering to His ways, and expressing how much He means to us.
When God is a priority in our heart, we delight in putting Him first each day. Even though we commune with Him all throughout the day, we come to Him first. Our hearts long to know His will. We receive from Him without asking by resting in Him, enjoying the fellowship. His desire is for our presence, as ours should be for His. In that place we receive His love and strength.
What we set today as a priority helps our story unfold. As we seek Him first, His story replaces some of our history. When He is our priority, all else falls into place; all worries are removed; His peace and joy fill our soul. When the King is first in our hearts, His Kingdom, the realm in which His will is fulfilled, is manifested from glory to glory!
Matthew 6:33-34 “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
We acknowledge the Lord with every step we take; we are aware of His presence. We look to Him; we look for Him; we trust Him. He is looking after us. We acknowledge Him because He matters to us. We do not ignore Him; we welcome all that His presence in our lives represents.
We welcome His input and His instructions as we do whatever He has asked us to do, in obedience and with joy. We acknowledge that He is with us at all times: in the midst of our conversations; at our dinner table; in our times of recreation and in all that we do. We know what it feels like to be in the midst of others we know and be ignored when our presence is not acknowledged. When we are not acknowledged, we do not feel welcomed. When we acknowledge the presence of the Lord, He knows He is welcome, and His will and His way become visible.
When we acknowledge the Lord, we place Him above others and ourselves. Everything that can be lifted up over Him is brought low, under His authority. The more we are aware of Him, the more we humble ourselves and His grace increases in our lives. The more we are aware of ourselves, the more pride increases to hinder our path. He delights to direct our paths. We ask and trust the answer that comes when our attention is focused on Him, from glory to glory!
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”
God is with us in our daily activities and as we are aware of His presence–we welcome Him in everything we do. We fellowship with Him moment by moment and don’t meet with others without Him. There are also times when we purposely focus on spending time alone with Him. It’s in these times of intimacy that we are transformed by His glory.
Hanging out with Jesus enables us to become like Him. The same is true with other relationships. We become like those we hang out with and without realizing it pick up habits or expressions from those companions. We must guard against anything that conflicts with the Christ-like character we are developing day-by-day. We are able to discern and break free from wrong associations as we increase our time with the Lord. Our holy boldness, surety in our steps, and ability to withstand opposition increases as we grab hold of who we are in Christ.
It is not our training or our education that makes us effective for the Kingdom. We are effective because we receive His knowledge and wisdom as the Holy Spirit coaches us in the things of the Kingdom. The boldness birthed from the confidence we have in Him is visible and tangible. As we fellowship with Jesus and have communion with Him, His characteristics become ours from glory to glory.
Acts 4:13 “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.”
We are new creatures in Christ. Old things have passed away. This position we have in Christ is finished, but the possession of it is accomplished in our daily walk. With each step, we learn we are finished with what is truly gone.
To know, count as completed, that we are dead unto sin but alive unto God through Christ, is demonstrated through baptism. As our whole body goes in the water, we identify with His death on the cross. As we are raised up out of the water, we identify with His resurrection. Our old man is crucified with Him that henceforth, we should not serve sin. When we are dead, we are freed from sin. The outside shows what we believe our new birth has done on the inside. The old no longer exists. We can check the list of what used to be in our lives…before Christ, and place a checkmark next to done showing it is complete! The truth we know sets us free.
Our profession brings forth the possession of His promises because of our position in Him. Let’s not let what is dead hinder what is alive. Let us continually ignore what no longer has any power. The words we speak and believe in our hearts express this truth as we walk in this newness of life from glory to glory!
Romans 6:4 “Therefore we were buried with him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”