Letting God shape your perspective.
I love starting a new year and I know the expectation that builds inside when we dream of all the things that we will change with the start of a fresh year. It is good to make resolutions and to start a new year with determination and new hopes. But is that enough? Is it enough to make plans? What about planning things that are directly tied to our spiritual lives, such as praying or studying the Word more? It is never enough to just desire something better, no matter how much you fight to accomplish it. If the power of God is not the driving force of our pursuit, then we will soon give up. Only the Holy Spirit can give us the power to change our way of life but first, God needs to change us. The first thing that changes when God touches our heart is the way we see life. It’s so beautiful when God starts to change the way you see Him, yourself, and those around you but this never happens without pain. Our heart is sinful and so deceiving and the voice that whispers inside us is often the voice of our flesh or that of the enemy. What kind of voice speaks in the depths of your heart? Is it the forceful voice of the flesh that always wants to serve itself or is it the voice of God, always calling us to deny self and to choose the path of death to self? We lose so much when we live our life under the influence of our self but we gain so much when we are led by Christ and choose to learn from Him and to carry His yoke, which is easy and light. Following His example is the only way we can find rest for our souls because the heart that lives to serve the flesh is always striving but never finding peace. I have found that it is so easy to desire to pursue the path less taken of self-denial but to fail in the crucial moment of decision when we face the choice to preserve or to lose our life. Because our eyes are tainted by sin, we often fail to see the opportunities God gives us to allow Him to change the way we see and that is because we resent the death of self rather than sacrificing our very ego to embrace such a high privilege. When someone offends us or speaks untruthful things about us, do we offend back or try to fight for our reputation? When we are unrecognized for our efforts and abilities, do we try to make ourselves noticed or do we rely on the Holy Spirit in order to receive the strength necessary to embrace humility and to see its imperishable beauty? When God allows us to experience suffering and difficult circumstances, we would be so very blessed if we knew how to humble ourselves and to allow God to chisel our character through the pain and uncertainty of life. It is so tragic that the very essence of Christianity, which is the loss of our ego, is the very element that gets so overlooked by us today. May we truly understand this year that God does desire to change our lives but that can only happen as we allow Him to change us. Will you let Him?