New Year, New Me?
With the new year here, many, including Christians, are using this period to set out their resolutions which often include new goals, changes in behaviour and new plans. However, there are quite a number of issues with how this practice is often carried out. The language usage and methods applied are mainly rooted in new age practices. Therefore, how can believers be certain that they have set out their goals and plans without falling for the lies and traps of the devil? Answer: less focus on self, more trusting in the LORD. Let me explain further.
1. Manifestation Vs Prayer
Undoubtedly, manifestation is widely practiced today in our culture. It relies heavily on the principles of the law of attraction which requires speaking & thinking positive thoughts and also visualising the goals. The sad reality is, this is the opposite of prayer. The Bible commands us not to be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving to let our requests be known to God (Philippians 4:6). Therefore, believers do not have to speak their future into existence but rather trust the perfect will of our Father and believe that He is working all things for the good of those who love Him.
2. Behaviour Modification is not Sanctification
The desire to be Christ-like is undoubtedly God-given, however, how we pursue that is important. The Apostle Paul, in Galatians 3:3, said “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” The pursuit for improved behaviour led by our flesh and not the Holy Spirit is not sanctification. It only masks the problem but never confronts the root of it, which is what the Holy Spirit does when we are sanctified - changes our hearts. Like Charles Spurgeon had said, “Scripture does not say, ‘ye must be improved’, but ‘ye must be born again’”. Therefore, as we repent, we ought to continually ask the Holy Spirit to lead us.
3. Plans of man vs Plans of God
How many plans have you penned down but have not yet submitted to God? Are you at peace with them not coming to life? Do you pray for His Will to be done? Psalm 37:4 says “Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart”. This passage does not mean delight in the LORD and He will give you what you want BUT rather to delight in Him and He will give you what to want. How much heartbreak and disappointments would we have avoided had we practiced patience and waited on the Father? Therefore, as we plan, may we pray for complete submission to His perfect Will for our lives.
4. Self-Affirmations without God
Our Father is blasphemed countless times by a lot of the “I am” statements which are meant to be harmless but empowering - for the most part by the less informed users. “The LORD God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”, and He said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I AM has sent me to you’” - Exodus 3:14. It is important to flee from self-idolatry and many affirmations that are not grounded on Biblical Truths of who we are to God are dangerous. Therefore, may every word we speak about ourselves be tested against the Word of God. Lastly, may our focus be on heavenly treasures and not earthly treasures which are passing away.
To conclude, let us pray for discernment so that we do not engage in ungodly new age practices. Many appear harmless but so does every possible trap of the devil. Do not justify these practices with verses used out of context - Habakkuk, cough cough**** wink!
I pray that we will have a year filled with God and just an understanding that we are not promised a life free of trials while we are still on this fallen world, however, anything that happens this year, I pray and trust that it will be for your good, Romans 8:28
Yours in Christ