We are in the beginnings of a new year and with that comes the cultural norm of reflection and setting goals.  Whether you believe in New Years Resolutions or Setting Goals or just Going with the Flow – we also carry this sense of sin in our life – all the things where we simply don’t measure up, aren’t good enough or are still working on.  We tend to set goals, or think about improving in those areas.

But what if we didn’t.  What if we started to believe what God says about us.  

God says we are a new creation.  He has given us a new heart – that means he has given us new desires, new values, new beliefs.  We no longer want to do things our own way without God. Yes, we may still deal with selfishness – but we are aware of it, and we don’t want it.  The only reason we don’t want that in our life is because we have a new way of living – a new heart – and selfishness is the old way. The very act of identifying selfishness as something you don’t want is living out of your new heart.  The old heart would have been happy with this state of being. The old heart didn’t know anything different.

Something my mum often says: If we focused more on Jesus we’d sin less.  

Instead we focus on all the things we shouldn’t be doing, all the things we don’t want to be doing – and it seems as if that is all we can do.  It reminds me of teaching toddlers. If you say to a toddler don’t do something – like don’t tip out all the toys… what will they do? Tip out all the toys.  They aren’t being necessarily contrary – you’ve just more or less put the idea in their head and they are following through. If you were to say, hold that box carefully, two hands.  Then that is what they’ll do.

Focus on Jesus not on the sin we have but don’t want in our life.

Jesus says: Your sin is forgiven, go…

When Jesus healed people at different times Jesus said different things – go home, go and and sin no more, go and get your healing confirmed.  Each time there is an inference – your sickness held you back from living – go and live.

Jesus says: Love God and Love Others (simplified version!)  

How can you do that this year?  How can I do that this year?

Jesus says:  I came that you may have life, abundant life. (John 10:10)

I believe that accepting Jesus gives me eternal life – but I also believe that the abundant life Jesus is talking about here happens today.  But we get it mixed up with abundance – with stuff, with opportunity, riches, health. Jesus isn’t about that stuff – he is about our inner life.  Living with Jesus today, is about allowing him to rule in my heart – allowing him to shape and control my beliefs, values, reactions to people and life.

Jesus gives us peace in turmoil, love for the unloveable, patience in times of pressure, kindness to the mean-hearted, goodness when selfishness raises its head, faithfulness we are tempted, gentleness when our frustration wants to push through, self-control when things get hard. This is the abundant life of allowing the Holy Spirit to speak, lead, prompt, direct our choices.

How does hearing Jesus’ voice change how you view the coming year?

Before we set goals for the new year we need to check what voices we are listening to and who is influencing our goals.

Before you set New Year Goals:

Before you set new year goals – here are some scriptures that I’m pondering on.  I want these scriptures to sink deep into my heart and be at the forefront of my mind as I start planning for the new year.  

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”  2 Corinthians 5:17

“We exhorted you all to walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.” 1 Thessalonians 2:12

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  Matthew 6:33

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”  Colossians 3:2-3

Are you as familiar with those passages as I am?  Do you gloss over them, ticking them off as understood.  But what do they mean? What do they mean if we are to believe them, and let them change our life?  Change our choices? Change what we believe? Change how we face the coming new year?

How does hearing Jesus’ voice change how you view the coming year?

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Before we set goals for the new year we need to check what voices we are listening to and who is influencing our goals.

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Before we set goals for the new year we need to check what voices we are listening to and who is influencing our goals.
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