Some years ago after listening to a very powerful message, I cried and prayed eh, hmmm..I had this feeling of ‘yes, I have arrived at a turn in my christian walk.’ I felt a sweetness and warmth in my soul but you know what, within a few hours, the feelings had dissipated. My struggles were still evident. The magic I thought would work didn’t. Many years later I would come to understand the importance of a renewed mind in bringing my actions to align with the nature of Christ in me. A process not ruled by feeling but is by faith from start to finish.
The year is running to an end. How many weeks do we have left? Three, two…? Soon, the excitement of starting off a new year will begin and plans and resolutions for 2018 will find their way into our journals. Oh how I used to be excited about January 1 because I’d have a new notebook and a probably a new pen and excitedly I’d just write and write and set goals and bask in the joy that comes with starting something new. But by February, I may not be able to find the journal or remember anything of the things I have written in it.
For the christian who is concerned with seeing a development in his spiritual life, his resolutions may be in this format
1 hour devotion with the Lord’
read three chapters of the bible daily’
read three christian literatures every month
win ten souls to the Lord every month. and so on
But somehow, by the end of the first quarter, It’s like those resolutions were never made.
There is always a certain kind of excitement when we come in contact with something new. Adrenaline pops up, our emotions shoots out and unrealistic decisions are made. Just like a young man strongly attracted to a lady who as the years rolled out suddenly comes face to face with certain realities that leaves him wondering, if he was ever in love in the first place..
You may want to read when you say you are in love
I’ve learnt that if my past mistakes will not reoccur again and if I would see serious development in my life, I must take definite steps now that the excitement isn’t there, when there is no specific reason to be excited.
Why wait till you hear the scream of ‘Happy new year’ before developing great habits for your personal and spiritual walk?
Why not start now? Let 2018 find you already tapping into God’s grace and allowing the Holy Spirit work through you. The true test of a disciplined life is not in those excited feelings, it is in whether you stay true to your words when the rush is gone.
There are three things I’m seriously hoping to walk into 2018 with. I am trusting that gradually I would see the evidence of these things play out in my life. I call them my packages. I’m not waiting till the first of January to open them, I have begun to access their content with the help of the Holy Spirit.
1. A mind that constantly aligns with God’s word.
How can I have a mind that aligns with God’s word if I do not regularly spend time with the Word? Consistency is a big deal for me. Some days I’m so excited in spending time with the word and at other times, I’m either carried away by work, my phone or other activities. I believe that I can be consistent in this area of my life and that I can get to a point where daily, as the deer pants for water, I’ll feel so uncomfortable when I have not spent time with the Word.
But I seriously can’t get to this point through sheer determination. I’ve tried that process and it hasn’t work for me. Maybe it did for you o but for me, after the first few months, I broke my resolve.
But now, I’m learning to rely on His grace and I am noticing that there is a propelling force that prompts me to long for His presence. I don’t even want to be like the man who boasts in so much eschatological study and yet there is no visible transformation in his life. I just want to be transformed into Christ’s likeness to yet another degree.
How many times have I trusted the Lord for something and the next moment I am wallowing in unbelief because of circumstances that I encounter. Now this is one of the most precious packages that I’m taking into the new year. I want to be like Abraham. He is human like me na? So how did He get to the point where the scripture puts it in this way:
…he (Abraham) staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving Glory to God…Romans 4: 20
This is huge. When God says, without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is the rewarder of them who diligently seeks him, I know I dare not go into 2018 with a heart of unbelief. Faith means everything to God. I mean, even living the Christ centered life is by faith and so If I will grow in my walk with Christ, I cannot play with this package.
Faith is the basis of my daily victory.
…This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith. I John 5:4
If you have lost faith because of certain setbacks in the past, this is the time to build back that faith. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.
3. A Prayer lifestyle
I have just returned from a prayer retreat organised by the Mount Zion Faith Ministries. I had a wonderful time. I didn’t believe I could pray that much and seriously I still cannot understand the kind of strength that took over me. But while I was there, something dropped in my heart. Would this continue after the retreat? You know it is easy to be motivated at prayer gatherings where you find people praying zealously around you. But when you are alone in the room, can that communion be maintained?
If it is only at gatherings that I am a tongue speaking prayer warrior, could that not be hypocrisy and walking in the flesh? It is wonderful to be at such places because iron sharpens iron but I do not believe it should end there. For some of us, the prayer lifestyle we claim to possess is mere showoff. We are not talking to God even though we say we are. It is for people to see how powerful we are or to show those sisters in the fellowship that we possess the power accrued to a ‘praying husband’
In this package, I’m not even seeking strength to pray for hours non stop, I just want to be addicted to communing with God. I want to be able to talk to him like a friend. I want to share my fears, my hopes and seek direction for every step of the journey. I want the strength to stay in His presence.
When praying becomes a burden or a struggle, it has lost its essence.
We mustn’t wait until the year is over before taking deliberate consciousness to desire the things we want to see in our lives. The process can start now. Let 2018 meet you in the training session. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can achieve a gallant stride in our spiritual walk.