Kick It Off: New Year With Purpose 

To Live is _________. How would you fill in the blank? How would you define what your life is if you had a single blank to fill? It has to be something. We all fill it and we make statements “The year 2017 is going to be the year of _______!” 

This is what we choose to fill the blanks with sometimes:

To live is money. (I need More!)

To live is love. (I need Someone!)

To live is pleasure. (I need to feel good!)

To live is…happiness (I need to not feel pain, and everything to go my way.) 

No matter what, we fill in the blanks with how we live. We desire to achieve goals so much but how often do we really live up to the goals we set before ourselves in the new year? Has any of those things been a bust? I read an article not long ago that said 80% of the new year resolution crowd drops off by the second week of February. We even joke about it with our friends and family “Ha well I’ll get it next year!” We brag about goals that we met and fret about the goals we couldn’t attain. 

I pray we don’t take our spiritual walks with Christ as just another “goal” or “resolution” to joke about and talk about in passing. Following Jesus isn’t about attaining a goal, but going a direction. A direction that Christ has already prepared beforehand. A direction that Christ won for us on the cross.

The Apostle Paul fills the blank with this: “For me to live is Christ…” Philippians 1:21

This was a man with not much money. A man who didn’t always feel love, rather torments and pain from the stones thrown at him. A man who at one time in his life took pleasure in destroying Christians and living self-righteously, and now takes pleasure in the name of Jesus. A man who realized happiness was not found in abundance, but in the resurrected Jesus. For Paul, Jesus opened his eyes to a life worth living.

Jesus gave Paul a few things worth emphasizing and inspiring a direction for his life.

  1. A Free Mind 
  2. A Saved Soul 
  3. A Renewed Heart 
  4. A Contained Spirit 

Paul also says  in Philippians 1:22, “But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ.” Paul knows his direction. When he says “To live IS CHRIST”, everything he does sets him a direction for spiritual growth and pursuit of what he can attain. 

What are your spiritual Your Directions to where you can do more fruitful work for Christ?

1. Think about the things above not on the earthly: You don’t need a better fit body, you need a spiritually healthy one. Don’t abandon physical training, but don’t allow vanity to overtake you “For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” 1 Timothy 4:8 (emphasis mine). Don’t dwell on approval from others, God in the heavenlies already approves of you. Don’t fight for accolades on earth for your treasure is in heaven. 

2. Rest in God’s saving Grace: “I’ll rest when I’m dead” isn’t heroic, it’s sin. God wants you to be so secured in His love for you that you you can take a sabbath, and let His peace comfort you. Some of us are so exhausted that we have become numb to it. We won’t let God rule our little world because our strength is in ourselves. But we are frail, and when we actually take time to rest, our souls heal from the world’s demands. Listen, 2017 will be crazy. But hey, just go to bed. Put your electronic friend down (Your cell phone) and hang with your friends or your kids. Realize the world doesn’t need you, it needs a savior. To live is christ means you can rest.

3. Be Still to KNOW God: We struggle to get to Know God because of constant distraction. We think a sermon a week and four songs in a service is us getting to know Him. But you will never get to know Him as much as you can than when it’s you, the Word, the Holy Spirit, and quiet. To live is Christ is to know Him. But you cannot know him if you don’t make a lot of time for him. You read that? A LOT! 2017 doesn’t need to make room for Jesus, YOU DO! Don’t blame time or people or your job for not enough time. You make it happen. KNOW JESUS more than you do anyone this year. 

4. Remain Obedient making your body a slave to Christ: A contained spirit is one controlled by the Holy Spirit. Jesus sets your direction. He sets the way we live in His word. By the power of God’s Spirit within you, you can say no to sin! You can make disciples! You can love your wife more than hunting! You can do a devotional with your family when you make your body a shave to Crist! Teenager you can be the influencer rather than the influenced! REMAIN in Christ “For apart from Him you can do nothing” John 15:5. 

Quit setting goals and then giving up when you fail. Follow the direction Christ has already set for you and flourish from this year to eternity.

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