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Posts Tagged ‘New Year’s resolution’


KJV and NKJV Scripture

–  For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. – 2 Corinthians 4:16

– A change in external circumstances without inner renewal is the materialist’s illusion.  As though man were only a product of his social circumstance, and nothing else. – Jurgen Moltmann

Magazine subscriptions only last so long.  If we don’t fill out a renewal form and submit it to the publisher before one runs out, we will not receive any new editions.  The subscription will stop or be interrupted. This can be intentional or unintentional.  We don’t want the magazine anymore, or we forget to renew.

If we are born-again (John 3:5), then we started becoming new creatures in Jesus the second we received this gift of the Holy Ghost from God (2 Corinthians 5:17).  We began submitting to a steady spiritual process of inner change and renewal.  This is called repentance and remission of sins (Mark 1:4).

Our repentance is to be done zealously (Revelation 3:19).  If we refuse, we will perish (Zephaniah 3:2, Luke 13:3,5, Hebrews 12:25).  We are renewed through the washing of regeneration by God’s living water (John 7:38) inside us, transforming our minds and hearts by His truth (Romans 12:2, Titus 3:5).

It takes continual confession of our sins as Christians, as God is just to forgive (1 John 1:9).  However, it’s so He can cleanse and correct us, often through some not so joyful chastisement, so we learn not to offend Him anymore (Hebrews 12:11, Job 34:31).  If we’re not being renewed, we are backsliding into sin.

However, much like it is with a magazine subscription, God gives us free will ability to decide on whether to renew or not.  We choose each day whom we’ll serve and submit to (Joshua 24:15).  It is our Saviour or Satan.  If Jesus, we repent according to the Word.  If the devil, we repeat the world (1 Corinthians 10:21).

This is not establishing our own righteousness and submitting it to God for approval (Romans 10:3).  It is submitting to His righteousness, so we can show ourselves approved to Him.  Some ways to do this are studying the Word (2 Timothy 2:15), and following peace and joy in the Holy Ghost (Romans 14:17-18).

The word renewal has a few definitions.  One of them is the repair of something that is worn out, run-down, or broken.  It requires fixing.  God will accept anyone like this at the Cross of Christ.  It does not matter if we arrive there all weary and worn, tired and torn, abused and abandoned, or bruised and battered.

What does matter to God is how we are renewed before finishing our race of faith (1 Corinthians 9:24). We are all commanded to be presented before Christ unashamed (1 John 2:28), faultless (Jude 1:24), holy, unreproveable, and unblameable (Colossians 2:22). Found in peace and without spot (2 Peter 3:14).

We can’t do this by any external and worldly method or means, ways or works.  We can’t just “try” harder. This is why New Year’s resolutions tend to falter or fail so soon.  We can only do it through inner renewal. Humbly obeying God like Jesus did to death, and abiding by His ways (Philippians 2:8, John 15:1-6).

We would be foolish to blame a magazine publisher for not sending us new editions if we just did not want to renew our subscription – or if we forgot.  The same goes with God.  We will be forever fools if we blame Him for sending us to hell, simply because we didn’t want to submit to Him for renewal unto salvation.

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r(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– And he said unto them, “Full well you reject the commandments of God, that you may keep your own tradition.  Making the Word of God of no effect through your tradition, which you have delivered; and many such like things as you do.” – Mark 7:9,13

– “They won’t listen.  Do you know why?  Because they have certain fixed notions about the past.  Any change would be blasphemy in their eyes – even if it were the truth.  They don’t want the truth – they want their traditions.” – Isaac Asimov, “Pebble in the Sky

A custom is a practice followed by people of a particular group, region – or religion.  It is a certain way of doing things which people can quickly get “accustomed” to.  Preferred customs eventually evolve into traditions – so-called “tried and tested” ways.  Creating human chains which can keep anyone – even great and aged Christians (Job 32:9) – from understanding God’s wisdom and judgment.

There are ways which may still seem right in our own eyes today as Christians – such as traditions – but the ends thereof are still the ways of death (Proverbs 14:12).  Traditions often birth words like, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, or “We’ve always done it that way.”  As believers, we came to the Cross broken and undone – we all need fixing.  Tradition craves old ways; truth creates new ones (Isaiah 43:19).  

Jesus could not stand tradition.  The Pharisees questioned and criticized Christ about this.  Why would someone claiming to be a Jew – not keep Jewish traditions?  After all, the disciples of Jesus still did so (Mark 7:1-13).  However, it was in keeping with a Passover custom which set the guilty prisoner Barabbas free – and sent the guiltless Christ to the Cross (John 18:39-40, 1 Peter 2:22).

Is it any wonder why keeping tradition displeases God?  Tradition keeps us outwardly observing particular religious customs and ceremonies – even in Christianity.  Simple things such as having to conduct a Sunday service a certain way can become tradition over time.  God’s kingdom does not come by observing such traditions; it already dwells inside us (Luke 17:20-21).

Keeping any tradition is obeying man’s voice, often under the guise of obeying God’s.  Saul found out the dangers of listening to people first – not God (1 Samuel 15:23-24).  If we are conforming and performing dutifully per man’s traditions – we can keep our inner man and minds from being renewed daily through the regeneration of the Holy Ghost (Romans 12:2, 2 Corinthians 4:16, Titus 3:5).

Still, people keep traditions.  They can create a sense of order in a chaotic world.  New Year’s resolutions have become tradition for many.  People who make them somehow believe numbers on a calendar can create the perfect and permanent conditions for all the positive personality changes they desire.  The changes only God can create from within us.  Truth always trumps tradition.

God warns us to beware, lest any man spoil us through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world – and not after Christ (Colossians 2:8).  Perhaps no other person understood the dangers of tradition more than Paul.  The one who once tried to destroy the Christian faith he ended up preaching – in large part because of tradition (Galatians 1:23).

Before his conversion on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-15), Paul went by the name Saul (of Tarsus).  He was brought up in that city at the feet of Gamaliel – a Pharisee doctor of Jewish law.  Saul was raised and taught this way – and he was zealous towards God in this manner (Acts 22:3).  Part of Saul’s zeal became persecuting people who belonged to this new sect of the Nazarenes (Acts 22:4, Acts 24:5).

Later in his epistle to the Galatians, Saul – now the apostle Paul, wrote this: “For you have heard of my conversion in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God; and tried to destroy it.  And profited in the Jews’ religion above many of my equals – in my own nation – being more exceedingly zealous of the “traditions” of my fathers (Galatians 1:13-14).”

As Saul, his zeal towards God focused on repeating and loving Jewish tradition.  Consequently, he began persecuting God’s church and its new Christians. Most Jew’s considered themselves God’s chosen few for salvation.  The new gospel he later preached as Paul, meant non-Jews – the Gentiles – could be saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8).   Jewish tradition now countered God’s truth.

We will be redeemed by truth – not tradition.  We will be saved through repentance according to the Word – not repeating the same old traditions of the world – even in church.  For we know we are not redeemed with corruptible things such as silver or gold, or from our vain conversations received by tradition from our fathers.  Christ’s precious blood will be enough (1 Peter 1:18-19).

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– But beloved, do not be ignorant of this one thing: That one day is with the Lord as a thousand years; and a thousand years as one day. – 2 Peter 3:8

– For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. – 2 Corinthians 4:16

Many years ago, I heard a preacher say, “A Christian who makes New Year’s resolutions isn’t anywhere close to comprehending what being one is all about.” With January 1st just around the corner, it’s important for all believers to understand that becoming a new creature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) doesn’t restart every New Year‘s Day.

Tomorrow will be 1,000 years long in His sight (lead verse).  The year 1013 was yesterday (Psalm 90:4). God exists outside the space-time continuum we’ve created to mark how long it takes to make our trip through space; one orbit around the sun – called a year.  Yet so many seem to make major life decisions or changes by the calendar.

Often believing just by flipping a calendar page to a new month, it’s a golden opportunity to create fresh beginnings.  They rarely last long.  It becomes a yearly process of starts and stops – producing little in the way of inner spiritual change.  Backsliding can often be caused by trying to restart spiritually each January 1st (Jeremiah 3:22).

However, spiritual growth can’t be conditional to arbitrary numbers on calendars made by mortal men. God knows how we measure time – but it’s not the same way as He does (lead verse).  Giving in to any consideration that we can become better believers – just by starting on a random date; is giving in to the world; and denying the Word.

Renewal can only start for us when we are born again of the Holy Spirit.  Whatever day that is – God chooses.  It’s not random.  It’s a day when He knows He has convicted us with His sorrow – to the point we will repent of sin unto salvation – and not be sorry for a season (2 Corinthians 7:8-10).  It could be tomorrow for some; June 14th for others.

A resolution is a firm decision to do – or not do something.  God didn’t make us to be firm beings – He made us flesh – and frail (Psalm 39:4).  There is no good thing which dwells in our flesh (Romans 7:18).  So, how can we possibly ever know what’s good for us?  The world’s message continually changes in this regard.  God does not (Malachi 3:6).

How can we make any firm decision to start doing – or stop doing something anymore, and follow through on it – simply by following numbers on a calendar? How can we trust any resolution as being the right one – when we are not to trust in our hearts – or ourselves anymore as Christians (Proverbs 28:26, 2 Corinthians 1:9)?

Unless, of course, we’re still devising our own way through life in the world – trying to direct God’s steps accordingly.  Using His Word in hopes He will make most everything turn out the way we want (Proverbs 16:9).  Still leaning on our own understanding – and only acknowledging Him when His ways are going according to ours (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Or, still proclaiming our own goodness (Proverbs 20:6, 1 John 1:8-10) … often making God an easy target (Mark 10:18) to blame when they don’t (Jeremiah 8:6).  Claiming to be completely clean of all sin as Christians, or incapable of committing any more – makes God a liar, and His truth is not in us (Proverbs 16:2, Proverbs 20:9, 1 John 1:8-10).

Being a Christian takes becoming one first.  It’s not a label – it’s a lifestyle.  It starts when one is first born again of the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-5) – and it doesn’t stop until God calls us home.  It takes daily abidance in God – as He abides in us by faith; with Jesus residing in our hearts through the power of the Holy Ghost (John 15:1-7, Ephesians 3:16-17).

We’re no longer resolute – we can’t produce the spiritual fruit God requires by ourselves (John 15:1-7, Galatians 5:22-23).  It doesn’t stop on December 31st – and restart on January 1st.  It’s a day-and-night renewal of our inner man (second lead verse); as the Holy Spirit washes us clean through continual regeneration (Titus 3:5).

God is continually cleansing the clutter within – as the very same blood Christ shed being sprinkled on our hearts as a salve for sin (Hebrews 10:22). Without daily repentance and remission – we’re bound to repeat our old sins.  We can’t see the change happening, but all others should.  They should see it in our eyes first (Luke 11:34).

Our whole being should be lit up in them – reflecting the love God shed abroad in our hearts, when He first gave us the gift of the Holy Ghost (Romans 5:5). It takes time.  As Billy Graham once said, “It’s not an overnight conversion – but a continual process of renewal – becoming more like Christ each day (Ephesians 4:20-32).”

But – it does have to happen; not according to the world’s idea of change – but the Word’s.  Our faith can’t follow a calendar – our worship can’t be set by a watch.  Wanting – or waiting for Him to work according to our worldly concept of time is a recipe for trying to rush God, and eventual discouragement; maybe even departure from Him (Philippians 1:23).

We are to serve God in newness of Spirit – for He has put His Spirit in us (Romans 7:6).  However, one cannot put new wine into old bottles – or the bottles will break.  The wine will spill and perish (Luke 5:37). God will make all things new and beautiful in His time (Revelation 21:5, Ecclesiastes 3:11) – not in ours; and certainly not just on New Year’s Day.

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