Last time, we explored the importance of making ‘spiritual resolutions’ – incremental steps for deepening our relationship with our Father and Son and keeping it viable. The first step we discussed was how to position ourselves to receive and share God’s blessings. Let’s continue…
The success of our first step is profoundly dependent upon our second, which is to steadily increase our awareness of our sin. Remember that sin is an act that ultimately results in our missing God’s mark for our lives – i.e. to love Him with all our heart and to love our neighbors as ourselves. (Mt. 22:37 – 40.)
Our glory manifests itself when we reach for the highest good. In so doing, we become a reflection of the glory of God, bringing Him the glory. Yet, none of us are immune to the commission of sin.
Sin is the opposite of love, and it separates us from God – the antithesis of what our spiritual resolutions are set up to accomplish. (Is. 59:2) Moreover, we know that the ultimate result of unrepentant sin is death. (James 1:15).
So, how do we traverse a better daily walk?
1) Study the word daily, so that you know God’s rules to better be able to act in alignment with them.
2) Look first to what those words say when someone gives you advice, and always let God’s words take precedent.
3) Look to God for approval and fulfillment, not to the world.
4) At the end of each day, review your behavior. Did you act sinfully – willfully or unconsciously? Get on your knees and confess and repent. Then, ask God for the strength to resist that sin in the future.
5) Help others see their sin and aid them in understanding the consequences of them.
6) Other than trying to help those others, don’t consort with willful, unrepentant sinners.
The third step is to wake up in the morning and think about how you can give of your time, talent and treasure, to advance the kingdom that day. When we give, we bestow upon others the gift of ourselves – each of us being a conglomeration of the endowments that we have inside, given by God.
We might take the time to mentor someone in the word; help another climb out of the urgency of poverty, so that they can come to a place where they are able to hear about the promise of Christ; and lastly, set aside your tithe daily, letting it accumulate for Sunday, so that it doesn’t seem to have such an impact all at once.(And we all know that if we pay the bills first, we’ll ignore the tithe.)
Giving is not always easy. Often, that immediate sacrifice looks like an act that will rob us of our livelihood. It takes a leap of faith in that God will take care of our needs as well. Thankfully, we have His promise that He will:
“Bring all the tithes (the tenth) into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now on this,” says the LORD of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you [so great] a blessing until there is no room to receive it.” Mal. 3:10 AMP
The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered. Pr. 11:25 NASB
“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35 NKJV
The greatest gift that we can give, is the gift of our heart – a loving sacrifice of faith. Whatever that gift, it will bless others, which blesses God, and He in turn blesses us back. A beautiful cycle…
The fourth step of your spiritual resolutions to make each day a God-filled day, is to release all your gratitude towards God. Thank Him for your very life, His love, mercy, kindness, forgiveness, abundance, protection and for His Son, so that you keep receiving all of these treasures eternally. Let your joy be unbridled towards God. It will color the remainder of your day:
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Ps. 16:11 ESV
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation… Is. 61:10 NKJV
The fifth step, and like putting sin in its place, this one too, is so important, that God will hold back His blessings if you don’t clear this one up. To do that, we need to ask ourselves, ‘Do I bear anyone any ill will (anger, hatred, judgment or other malicious thoughts) at this moment?’
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other, as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. Col. 3:12, 13. ESV
“But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive you your transgressions.” Mt. 6:15 NASB
Strong words. You see, if we didn’t judge, then we wouldn’t blame, and subsequently there’d be nothing to have to forgive. Yet we all do. We must continually remind ourselves that other people are not inherently bad. They’re doing the best they know how, with the tools that they have, to try to survive. Often, they project their suffering onto the nearest target.
What they need is compassion and understanding, not judgment. If you don’t forgive these ‘projections,’ and you build stories about them which contain your judgement, then you hold yourself in bondage.
Forgiveness begins in the mirror. Most of the judgments we hold against others are the same criticisms that we flog ourselves with, for committing similar behaviors. Without forgiveness we create barriers between ourselves and God.
Forgiveness is the highest act of giving – giving love to everyone, regardless of whether we think it is deserved. And who doesn’t deserve love?
Give yourself and everyone around you a fresh start every morning. What a weight you will remove; and God will be free to move in your life…
We’ll wrap this up next time.
Goodnight and God bless.