From the Pulpit: 2013 Could be the Best Year of Your Life

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By ERIC WATT

I can still hear the joyful melodies that filled our office hallways, homes and hearts over the holidays. It really is “the most wonderful time of the year” – Christmas cheer, parties, a few extra treats and holiday feasts. As we take down the Christmas decorations and store lots of memories for another year, it is time to start thinking about what lies ahead in 2013. Should you set a few goals for the next year or make some resolutions that will bring about the “new you” that you deserve to be? The Huffington Post reports the country’s top five New Year’s resolutions are:

  1. Get in shape
  2. Eat right
  3. Save money
  4. Quit smoking
  5. Volunteer

But, will setting goals really help make these next twelve months the best year ever? I have set personal, family and work goals every year since 1984, and I have found that making resolutions actually does help provide direction and a sense of accomplishment throughout the year. Yes, the power of “focus” is a great motivator. But, I’ve discovered something even more important than asking myself questions about what I am going to do better. I take time at the beginning of each year to ask God what He would re-create in me in the coming year.

This isn’t a “what can I do better for God proposition.” It’s the complete opposite. Since the Bible says that “whatever is good and perfect comes to us from God above” (James 1:17, NLT) that surely means He has something good in store for us. Notice, the emphasis is not on what you can do to improve but on what God wants to give to you!

Here are “Four Ways to a Better You” – four simple steps that will help you recover and re-ignite your relationship with God this year.

1.  A Better You ~ Inside and Out
The first step toward a better you is to accept God’s love (John 3:16-17) and to realize that God will make you brand new. You have a purpose and a destiny that will come alive when God breathes His love into your heart. When God changes you on the inside, something incredible happens with your sense of identity and reason for living. You become a brand new person inside and out (2 Corinthians 5:17).

2.  A Better You ~ with Money
Just as God has good plans for you, He also has great plans for your money. The Bible says that God is the one who gives you the power to create wealth (Deuteronomy 8:18) and that His priority plan for your life is to prosper you, not to harm you but to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).

The second step toward a better you begins with transferring the ownership of what you have now into the hands of God who wants to give you the ability to live an abundant and blessed life (John 10:10). Yes, God wants to grant you the practical wisdom to have enough money left over so that you can abundantly bless others with your generosity (2 Corinthians 9:11).

3.  A Better You ~ on Mondays
Your relationship with God isn’t reserved for religious holidays, church services or special spiritual moments. God wants to be invited (Revelations 3:20) to go through every part of your life with you. He made you to light up every room with His goodness (Matthew 5:14) and to be filled with supernatural wisdom and revelation that will help you solve problems at work – not be the problem (Ephesians 1:16-18).

The third step toward a better you begins with you inviting God to be with you each and every day in every way (Philippians 2:13).

4.  A Better You ~ with Others
Your ability to get along with others can bring a healthy dose of energy to you; but, at the same time strained relationships that are filled with missed expectations and unresolved conflict can drain the life out of even the best person. God’s best for you begins with a heart filled with His presence and extends to a life filled with rich and life-giving relationships!

The fourth way to a better you begins with putting Jesus in the middle of every relationship! Did you know that you were designed to be filled to overflowing with God’s overflowing love (1 John 4:7) that creates peace (Hebrews 12:14), has the power to forgive wrongs (Matthew 6:14) and that helps people become whole again in their relationships (James 5:16).

God is good and filled with never-ending love for you. He made you unique and created you for a purpose that will bring lasting meaning to your life. Re-kindling your relationship with God this year will only make your life better.  Just imagine what could happen this year – in your life, with your family and friends – if you not only make (and keep) resolutions but also invite God into your relationships. Without a doubt, it could be an amazing 2013!

 

Eric Watt is the Senior Pastor of Greenbrier Church in Chesapeake. He is a graduate of Oral Roberts University and Yale Divinity School.

 

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