Thursday, January 03, 2008

Staying focused

I don't know many people who make formal resolutions at the beginning of a new year. But every January 1, faced with the clean slate in front of us, it's hard not to resolve at some level that this one is going to be different. By now, three days in, that slate is already getting a little dusty, and most of us have begun to waver on those resolutions, however formal or informal they may be. But Christians, be of good cheer and keep a faithful perspective on the whole thing. Here, for example, is Vicki Gaines:
Let's keep it simple. And live like we're loved---because we are. Let's rest in the One who came to free us from this continual need to 'fix' our own flesh so we'll feel better about ourselves. We are now crucified with Christ and we no longer live, but Christ lives through us. Nike's ad would mean more if it said: Just Let Christ Do It Through You! Need to lose weight? Have an emotional wound that needs healing? Need to keep a rein on your tongue and speak more lovingly? Me, too, my friend. I can't even forgive without His Spirit operating in me. No matter how good my particular flesh (or yours) might be, our best efforts are still like filthy rags. . . all we do must be fueled by His Spirit.

Let's not focus so much on personal resolutions. If you've made a list, give the whole thing to Him. Jesus is Life - not the life we naively try to carve out for ourselves every year. We can either wear ourselves out struggling to change, or look to Him, confess our need, and let His Spirit take deep residence within us, to work and will to His good pleasure. Sometimes the biggest bondage is staying captive to our own agendas. 2008 is the year to let them go, admitting we have no power to carry out our own resolutions.

Only Christ brings lasting change.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Milton, staying focused is likely the number one challenge we face in pastoral ministry. There is so much that needs to be done as well as the expectations of others. The question is, do I take the time to find out what the Lord would have of me and then be about His business? It is a challenge...

9:00 AM, January 03, 2008  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Yes, indeed. Thanks for adding to the discussion, Jon. Peace.

1:27 PM, January 03, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am 52 years young and I believe God wants me to preach His word. I want to obey God but I find it a challenge to stay focused. I find my self preaching in the shower, when I am cooking, when I am driving. I have started several sermons already but they are not completed yet. My latest one is "Fighting to stay Focused". This is what I've been experiencing more and more lately.

12:24 PM, November 03, 2011  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

I can relate to what sounds like a burning desire to preach the word. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and sorry it took me so long to reply.

10:04 AM, September 05, 2012  

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