What is it about a new year that makes us all want to call for a massive “do-over”? We collectively vow to shed a few pounds, save a few pennies, and ditch the nasty habits that plagued us the year before.
But year after year most of us fail to hit the marks we set for ourselves. Despite our best intentions, why do we so often fail at reshaping who we are?
Maybe it’s because we’re so focused on self-improvement that we miss the transformation that only comes from God’s Word.
In John 8:31–33, Jesus wrote about it this way: “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'”
The root of most of our resolutions is the desire for freedom. We want freedom from the things that stress us out, freak us out, or make us feel less than. Jesus says that the key that unlocks the door to freedom is the truth, not another fifteen minutes on the treadmill.
So this year let me encourage you to resolve to put God’s truth into action. I’ll even get you started. In Lies Women Believe, Nancy wrote about twenty-two life-changing truths rooted in God’s Word. I’ll turn some of those truths into action steps today and tomorrow. Before we dig in, let me pass along some advice Nancy gave in the book:
Rather than skimming through [these posts], let me encourage you to take time to savor these liberating, life-changing Truths. Say each Truth aloud—again and again and again—until your thinking becomes aligned with God’s way of thinking. You may even want to memorize the list, along with the key Scriptures that correspond to each Truth.
Now that’s a plan we can stick to! Ready? Let’s choose truth together.
1. I will stop making excuses and start obeying (1 Thess. 5:24, Phil. 2:13).
No matter what God calls you to in the year ahead, He will provide the grace to obey. As Nancy points out in Lies Women Believe, that means, for example, that:
- There is no one you cannot forgive (Mark 11:25).
- There is no one you cannot love (Matt. 5:44).
- You can give thanks in all things (1 Thess. 5:18).
- You can be content in every circumstance (Heb. 13:5).
As you study His Word this year, God will work in your heart to make you more like Him. Don’t make excuses for why you cannot change. Choose to willingly obey.
2. I will take responsibility for my behavior, responses, and choices (Ezek. 18:19–22).
God does not hold you accountable for the actions of others, but you are responsible for how you respond to them, regardless of how they treat you. You will not be able to control all of your circumstances or the actions of the people around you this year, but by God’s grace, you can control how you respond.
When we stop blaming other people and circumstances for sinful behaviors or negative patterns in our lives, when we begin to assume personal responsibility for our own choices, we will be released from the sense that we are helpless victims. We will be free to obey God, regardless of our circumstances. (Lies Women Believe)
3. I will say goodbye to my inner control freak (Matt. 16:25, Luke 1:38, 1 Pet. 5:7).
Let’s face it. We like to be in control. We often strive, manipulate, worry, and dominate others in an attempt to control our environment and relationships. But freedom and peace can only be found by handing the reigns over to God.
Why is it so hard to let God be God? Why is it so hard to turn over to Him the management of the universe? The Truth is, He is in control. He loves us, and He isn’t going to fall asleep on the job or let something slip by His notice. When we refuse to let go of the reins, we are really vying for His job. (Lies Women Believe)
Make a list of the areas of your life where you are fighting for control. (Ask God to help you!) Then tell God you’d like to make a swap, turning these areas over to Him in the year ahead in exchange for joy and peace.
4. I will submit to authority (Eph. 5:21).
When we resist authority, we become more vulnerable to Satan’s attacks and to sin, even as Eve sinned when she acted apart from the authority of her husband. On the other hand, when we willingly take our place under God-ordained authority, we are granted God’s protective covering, we release Him to work in the lives of those in authority over us, we reveal to the world the to beauty of God’s created order, we proclaim His right to rule over the universe, Satan is defeated in his attempts to dethrone God, and we cooperate with God in establishing His kingdom. (Lies Women Believe)
How’s that for some perspective? When we are rebellious toward authority, there is a lot on the line.
How did you respond to those in authority (parents, pastor, teachers) in 2013? Do you need to ask God to help you recalibrate your response in the year ahead?
As you consider these action steps, what jumps out at you? Where do you need to ask God for grace to change in the year ahead?
We’ll focus on five more action steps rooted in God’s truth tomorrow. Until then, I’d love to hear from you. Which of the action steps from the list above do you most need to put into practice? Where do you need freedom in the year ahead?
Which of the “I will” statements above will you focus on in the year ahead? Leave me a comment about it below and use this giveaway form to be entered to win a copy of “Lies Young Women Believe.” I’ll choose three winners. (For an extra chance to win, follow us on Twitter, @LYWBblog).