Romans 8:5 "Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires."
As we go into the new year, the Lord has laid it on my heart to focus on maturing in our faith and spiritual transformation. This goes far beyond just going to church and merely participating in religious activities. I'm talking about actually allowing God's Word to transform us and to be reflected in our every day lives. So while you're making your personal goals, resolutions, etc. for 2014, make sure that spiritual growth is a part of your plans. Whatever bad habits, insecurities, negative attitudes, resistance to change, etc. that you had this year, leave them here, and start the new year off fresh.
We see in Romans 8:5 that your mind has to be set on the things of the Spirit in order for your life to reflect the things the Spirit (love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control Galatians 5:22-23). So you can hope and pray that your behavior will change, but unless you are intentional about it, your success rate will probably be very low. If your goal is to minimize gossip for 2014, then you should already have a response set in your mind for when someone brings gossip to you. If your goal is to stop living in sexual sin, then you need to set up guardrails for yourself. Whether it's cutting off a relationship, setting new rules in your relationship, or banning certain shows from your TV lineup, do whatever it will take to help you succeed. You will also need to continue to support your desire to change with God's Word. It will be a struggle in the beginning, and maybe ongoing, but if you set your mind on things above, the changes your desire will be made manifest in your life.
Matthew 9:17 says, "Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” It is not enough to simply desire change without changing our minds. If you take your old mindset into the new year, you can pretty much expect a similar outcome at the end of next year. Some people may not be able to be as big of a factor in your life next year as they were this year, especially if they support where you've been instead of where you're going. Don't take the same debt mentality into next year if you desire to be more profitable. You have to make up in your mind to let go of whatever it is that's holding you back, and then act accordingly.
So let's aim our hearts and minds a little higher in this new year. Let's truly make Jesus the center of all that we do, and allow our lives to be transformed. Let's make a better effort at making our thoughts mirror the mind of Christ. If we do that, our actions will soon follow, and we'll have the fruit to show for it. Greater is available, if you make up in your mind to achieve it. Where will your mind take you in this new year? Out with the old, in with the new!
God loves you!