By Charlie Ridenour, Senior Pastor, Crossroads Bible Church
Welcome to 2024. I have two invitations in the next few words that hopefully inspire and encourage.
Research indicates that this January, about 40% of us will set goals, make resolutions, and pursue change. The leading resolutions are fitness (48%), finances (38%), and mental health (36%). Here’s my first invitation – set a spiritual resolution.
Way back in the fourth century a church father named Gregory of Nyssa said, “Sin happens whenever we refuse to keep growing.” Of the many ways we can describe or discuss sin, I like the nuance that sin involves staying stagnant and not pursuing a life more in line with the ways of Jesus. It’s sanctification 101.
So this year, prayerfully consider where God is inviting you to grow so that you might live more in line with the ways of Jesus. It could be as simple as spending more time in prayer or scripture. It could be centered around integrating more spiritual practices like fasting or sabbath. It could be simply finding more ways to serve and be generous. Remember, little steps done consistently lead to life change.
Research also tells us that 23% will quit their resolutions in the first week, 36% will make past the first month, and only 9% will make it the whole year. Here’s my second invitation – remember the why behind the what.
We fail to follow through when growth becomes a requirement and not a response. Compassion is a better catalyst for change than condemnation, and as followers of Jesus, we don’t grow to earn God’s love, we grow because we already have it. As one author says – we live from the heart of Christ, not for it.
In a season built around goals, resolutions, and growth – never forget we pursue change because we have been pursued by Christ and might that be the encouragement we need to keep growing.
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