January eNews: A New Year's Resolution
Every year after the holidays, most people look to the new year before them as an opportunity for change and a new start in life. We have come to know these fresh commitments as New Year’s resolutions. All kinds of decisions will be made during this time to alter things about our lives for the better. Inevitably, dieting and exercise end up on the top of the list for most, as evidenced by the many books we will find displayed in stores on how to shed those pounds we gained over the holidays.
That may be fine for our earthy life, but we also need to consider the spiritual weight some of us have allowed to accumulate over the year. God’s word warns us about allowing those extra pounds to hinder our spiritual lives: “Lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us… Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.” (Heb 12:1b, 1Cor 9:24)
If we claim to have put our faith in Jesus Christ, we have entered the race spoken of in these verses. The question is how are we doing? Are we running like the one who will receive a prize, or have we slowed down, gotten out of breath, fallen down or worse yet, have we dropped out of the race?
If we aren’t running as we should, we need to consider what is being said here. Just think about it, can you imagine a 400 pound man trying to compete in a marathon? Of course not! That man wouldn’t have a chance of winning. The people at the head of the pack are lean and at peak performance the day of the race. It’s no different for us; we can’t compete and run the course God has set before us if we are encumbered by excess weight and sin.
The weights spoken of in these verses can be anything that stifles our spiritual life in God. When that happens, sin isn’t far behind. I have been counseling people in sin for many years and there is always a common denominator about their lives—a minimal or nonexistent prayer life.
We live in a world today that is constantly vying for our affections and our time. Nothing will slow you down and get you side-tracked more than allowing the things of this world to rob your time with God. We all have choices every day about what we do, where we go, and how we spend our time. Nevertheless, many of us have lost our will to fight because we have become undisciplined and slothful in our daily lives with God.
Just like an athlete who trains for an event is disciplined and follows a strict regimen of diet and exercise, we also have to learn in our spiritual lives to be temperate in all things and to discipline ourselves unto godliness.
It’s time for Christians to get off the couch and to put away the junk food of this world. A lot of us have become spiritually fat and content to watch others pass us by. But now is not the time to get side-tracked and bogged down by our temporal lives in this world, especially when we can see the finish line quickly coming into view. Like no other time in history we need to start redeeming our time for God.
This is a spiritual race and we need spiritual strength and fortitude that only comes from spending quality time with God. Our diet needs to be His word and our spiritual gym needs to be our time spent in prayer. Martin Luther once said, “If I fail to spend two hours in prayer each morning, the devil gets the victory throughout the day.”
When we think about how much time, sacrifice and effort a gold medalist puts forth to win that prize, how much more should we discipline ourselves and bring ourselves under subjection to God. “Everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.” (1Cor 9:25)
I know for myself, I have learned one thing about this race. If I fall down, I can get up, wipe the dust off and get back in the race. It’s no different for you. Simply repent of any sin you have allowed to ensnare you and turn to God. Then make a New Year’s Resolution to get back on God’s diet and renew your membership at His gym.
Jeff Colón is a minister of the Assemblies of God. He held various positions during his 22 years with Pure Life Ministries. Jeff holds an MDiv and BA in Biblical Counseling from Master’s International School of Divinity. He recently branched out on his own, launching Lighthouse Biblical Counseling Center in Dry Ridge, Kentucky.
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