Every January 1st many of us make some decisions about the year to come. “This year I am going to…” Many times these decisions concern physical appearance, personal habits, exercise regimens, financial goals, even spiritual choices. God has called us to set before ourselves the priority of growth. 2 Peter 3:18 calls us to “Grow in grace and in the knowledge of God.” Growth insists upon change. So, as we head into the new year, we need to know how to successfully accomplish this goal to change more into the image of Christ. (continued on pg. 2)
The first thing we need to do is take stock of our present condition. “Let a man examine himself.” This needs to be an honest evaluation using the Word of God as the standard of acceptability. We also must remember to be doers and not just hearers according to James 1:24. We cannot just look in the Word, see that we don’t measure up, and then forget it. Once we see that we have missed the mark set by God, we can then take the next step to conquer the problem. Many of us fail at this point. Rather than obey Proverbs 28:13 and “confess and forsake” our sin, we cover or ignore it and suffer defeat.
The next step, referred to in the last paragraph, is to readily admit that my present condition is not acceptable to God or myself. Once I have owned my sin, I must believe that God can forgive (1 John 1:9) and will forgive, an then confess and forsake that sin. Many times we get to this stage and then try, under own will-power, to maintain the change by ourselves. God has a better plan.
The third step is to exercise ourselves unto Godliness. This means I need to understand and embrace my position in Christ. Romans 5:1-2 states that we have a position of grace that gives us peace through the forgiveness of sin and the assurance (or hope) of the glory of God in heaven. In order to change or grow in any part of our spiritual life we need to remember this position and count on it on a daily basis. Knowing we have this great relationship with God in my position with Him, we can then access this grace in which we stand for daily power to conquer sin and weights that hinder. Where before in our own strength we were defeated, by dependent faith in God’s promises and expectant faith in God’s power, we can claim daily grace to grow (change) into His image from one victory to the next.
May God grant us the wisdom and grace to accomplish the goals of victory that He intends for us to experience in this year to come. Romans 6 promises us that sin shall not have dominion over us, so let us choose to win by change.