Want to make changes in your life for 2017? Reading the Bible can change your life in so many ways… at least 50 but there are many more ways. How can it change your life? “The Christian who is truly intimate with Jesus will never draw attention to their self but will only show the evidence of a life where Jesus is completely in control. This is the outcome of allowing Jesus to satisfy every area of life to its depth. The picture resulting from such a life is that of the strong, calm balance that our Lord gives to those who are intimate with Him.” (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest)
12: Choose Hope – To choose hope and perseverance is not to brush aside our grief. It is to address our pain head-on and to work through our feelings. To choose hope is to believe that happiness and joy are attainable again, despite what our grief tells us.
11: Don’t Be a Stranger to God – We live in an age where self-reliance is valued. We feel pressured to have all the answers. But the reality is, we don’t. Our horizons are more limited than we often care to admit. Turning to a higher power can help put our egos back into perspective.
10: Enjoy God’s Presence – How do we know we belong to God? We have God’s Spirit inside us. We have access to God’s strength when we’re tempted. We have access to God’s guidance when we’re lost. We have access to God’s wisdom when we’re confused. We have a direct line to God when we need to talk. If we think it, God hears it; when we ask questions, God answers us. How often do we thank God for such an incredible gift? How often do we take advantage of the opportunities the Holy Spirit offers?
9: Keep Hope Alive – In Romans 5:4 Paul says: “Endurance builds character, which gives us hope.” Think of it as a spiritual variation of “Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” When we endure a painful experience, and come out on the other side, we get a better understanding of what God is capable of. Thus, when the next crisis arises, we have a stronger confidence and deeper sense of hope in God.
8: Treat Money as a Tool, Not a Treasure – We need to remember to thank God for everything we receive. By giving thanks, we acknowledge that the money didn’t originate with us and ultimately is not ours. We cheerfully and willingly give back to God by donating to churches and people in need. We treat money as a tool, not a treasure. God gave it to us for a reason. We should use it in a way that honors God.
7: Find the Silver Lining in Everything – Enduring trouble and pain gives us a perspective and maturity we can’t get any other way. Our hard-earned life experiences make us more mature – and more empathetic to other hurting people. You may not be ready to thank God for the trials and sufferings in your life, but you can thank God for the results they produce in you.
6: Be Awed Every Day – Do you spend time contemplating and appreciating the world around you? Do you maintain an attitude of humility and gratitude?
5: Live with Eternity in Mind – As “citizens of heaven,” followers of Jesus may – and should – feel out of place in this world. The Bible promises that something unimaginably good is waiting for us beyond this life. That promise, when properly understood, makes earthly excitements and priorities pale in comparison. It puts earthly problems in their proper context and helps us see them as mere blips in the whole scene of eternity. It makes our earthly pain and suffering a little more bearable, since we recognize that it’s all temporary.
4: Maintain an Outward Focus – The essence of genuine love is an outward focus, an emphasis on others instead of on ourselves. That would seem to be obvious. Yet many of us are tripped up by occasional inward glances. Our desire to promote ourselves – to make sure we aren’t overlooked – obscures our focus on others. Love is… never… boastful.
3: Judge Not – Judging others puts us in God’s crosshairs. Instead of condemning and looking down on people for their faults, a better alternative is praying for them and asking God to help them recognize their need to change. (Matthew 7:1-2)
2: Leave No Room for Despair – A loving approach to life leaves no room for despair. It brings a positive attitude to every situation, no matter how dire. It’s a question of outlook. We choose whether we will suffer or thrive in the wake of an event. “Love is always … hopeful.” (1 Corinthians 13:7).
1: Give the Gift of Patience – Being a patience shows a willingness to cut people slack, even when they may not deserve it; withhold judgement when people mess up; give people time to grow.
“Love is patient and kind, never jealous, boastful, proud, or rude” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5)
Serving God Together,