The Key to the New You is Relying on God
By Melvin Hayden and Latrice Williams
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You are probably one of millions of Americans that set new objectives for the new year. You took out your pen and pad in December and felt confident you’d crush every goal you to set out to achieve. But now January has passed, and nothing has been accomplished. Could it be you are trying in your own might and not God’s?
What does your 2020 infrastructure look like?
People tend to underestimate the meaning of a new year. You have a chance to annihilate any and everything that has ever stood in your way. And too, you don't have to bring any of your hardships with you into this new season. Make the decision NOW that nothing negative can have a place in your new year. But you can't do that without a good infrastructure. Would you build a house on rocks? Sure, they may look sturdy on the outside but their uneven surface wouldn't provide the solid foundation you need. That is like a lot of us. Deep down inside, we have the desire to be strong but we can't rely on our own strength. Much like that rock, from the surface we appear to be doing strong and doing just fine but if you take a closer look, we may have a few nicks and cuts. So, if you can't rely on yourself, why not rely on God? His word is the solid infrastructure - the strong foundation you need for the year ahead. Below are three key tips to help you get started.
1. Rely on God’s Provision
In Corinthians 12:7, Paul reveals that he has suffered from a “thorn in the flesh.” God was so concerned about Paul not becoming proud that he allowed this to happen to him to prevent him from becoming conceited. In our current situations, God is saying to us that his grace is sufficient, and even when we feel weak, he is making us stronger than we have ever been. His grace is not an abstract idea. It is the person of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. The hell you are going through may be the very circumstance God uses to take you to a whole new level.
2. Rely on God's Power
What is your weakness? Maybe it is a son or a daughter that hasn’t quite turned out the way you thought he or she would. A job situation that has gone awry, a medical diagnosis, insults, hardships or persecutions. Whatever it is, Paul says he will boast in those things because when we are weak, the power of Christ rests on us. The greater the enemy comes at you, the greater Jesus is in you. Maybe you hear voices telling you to just quit, give up and let it go. Don’t stop. When you are weak, then he is strong. Remember the greater the attack against you, the greater Christ is in you, but you have to rely on his presence, his provision and his power. This week take a moment to write down what you are suffering from or struggling with and place it in an envelope. On the outside, write, “God’s got this and he is transforming me.” Now when that challenge comes to mind, remember to rely on him. Marinate on that.
3. Rely on God’s Presence
Rejoicing in suffering does not mean celebrating when bad news comes. But it does mean that we can believe that God is doing a redemptive work. This word “redemptive” means that God does not waste a hurt or disappointment. He is using them to shape and build us into the image of Jesus, which is his highest passion. When we go through suffering, we often pray and seek God more intensely than at other times. My greatest times of growth have been when I’ve reached the end of my resources and all I have left is Jesus.
God uses suffering to make us rely on his presence. In Psalm 23:4, David writes that he does not fear because God is with him. He relies on God’s presence, and it brings him strength and comfort. Remember that for there to be a shadow, there has to be a light. I don’t know what your “valley of the shadow of death” is, but I do know who the Light is that is walking with you in that valley. In another Psalm, David reveals that one of the reasons for his joy is that he is forgiven: “Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered (Ps. 31:1, NIV).
We can’t determine God’s love for us based on good or bad circumstances. We determine his love based on the cross and what he did for us on it.