It is December 31st and I must be honest. I have been a little lost on where to begin with my personal “biblical resolutions.” I have started this post in my mind many times, but ultimately realized I was creating the same kind of resolutions I have put together for the last several years, just with a heavier dose of “Christian lingo” to try to disguise the worldly ambitions. Somehow my resolutions always end up looking like a diet plan. So how do I get away from this trend? How can I transform the way I create my resolutions? I asked God to reveal this to me in prayer and this is what He gave me. “Remember what is important to ME?” After thinking about that for a moment, I remembered Jesus telling us somewhere in the New Testament about the “greatest command.” Not knowing where to find this in my bible, I googled “greatest command bible.” And the verse I needed popped right up, Matthew 22: 36-40. (Side note) – don’t be embarrassed if you have a hard time knowing where verses are in the bible. I have used Google many times when I am trying to remember a verse to help give someone scriptural advice or to answer questions about God. All you have to know are a few key words from the verse and then you can find the chapter and exact verse to be able to share.
Ok, back to Matthew:
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?
Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the law and the Prophets hang on these two commands. Matthew 22: 36-40
There they are. The two “greatest commands” straight from the mouth of the greatest teacher that ever walked the earth, Jesus. This year I want to make it simple. I am going to turn Matthew 22: 36-40 into a filter. I am going to use this filter to test every resolution I make. If my resolution passes through the filter and proves to align with the two greatest commandments, it stays. If not, it goes.
Here is my filter, written in simple easy to understand form:
- Love my God with ALL of my heart, soul and mind.
- Love my neighbor as I love myself.
Sounds easy enough, right? Lets give it a try. What resolution can I put together to help me learn how to love my God better? What can I begin consistently doing to expand the love I have for my God to consume all of my heart, soul and mind? Dare I ask Google for a few verses on this? Google search: “scripture about loving God”
John 14:15 – Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
John 14:15- If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
John 14: 23-24 – Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come and make a home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the fathers who sent me.
1 John 2:4-6 – Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
Wow, I see a pretty obvious theme here, don’t you? To love God we must keep his commandments. I want to put a resolution together that will help me keep God’s commandments. To keep God’s commandments, I must first know what they are. I know what the two greatest commands are from the first verse I listed Matthew 22: 36-40, so that’s a good start! I want to go further though; I want to know every command He has given us. To do this I will need to get serious about studying the word of God. So here it is, resolution numero uno:
- Wake up at 5 am 3 times a week to study the word of God.
a. I will begin in Matthew and will write out at least one chapter each day. I will work my way through the New Testament and then will begin the Old Testament.
My dad is an expert in goal setting and has taught me that for a goal to be effective it must be specific and realistic. The reason I chose to shoot for 3 times a week is because I am the mom of two little girls and we are still in the stage of life where I am up with Ella quite a few nights each week. I can realistically wake up at 5 am three times a week, and if I feel capable of doing a couple more mornings a week that is a bonus! I chose to begin in the New Testament because I have already begun writing out the chapters in Matthew. I am currently on Chapter 8. I have found that writing each chapter verse-by-verse forces me to slow my reading down and not skim over words. I believe my resolution will help me to understand God’s word which will ultimately help me to “keep His commands”
Moving on to resolution two, I need a resolution that will help me love others as I love myself. Now, this may look like I am trying to get back into my old resolution groove and resemble a diet plan. Let me explain why it is different. I have been struggling the last couple of months with being good at loving myself. Not loving myself can often times affect the way I love others. Namely, my poor husband who usually gets the brunt of this crazy cycle I sometimes get into. I will go into this subject way more in future posts, but the short story is I have issues with binge eating. It used to be a full-blown eating disorder, but God has helped pull me out of that. Now it is mainly a struggle that I face in times of stress. I believe stepping into this calling God has placed before me is one of the greatest achievements of my life. I also believe it is an overwhelming undertaking. I know in my heart that God wants me to cast all my anxieties on him, but I don’t always “follow that command.” Fortunately, my first resolution should help me in that regard. Unfortunately, the enemy knows that my struggle with my eating habits is one of my most vulnerable places, and he likes to hit me there often. He tempts me to find my comfort in unhealthy food, or even worse to self sabotage myself because “I will never be able to fulfill my calling anyway.” This must end. I need to create a resolution that will help me get past me hang ups with food. I may have to tweak and reform this one as I go, but here is the first draft.
- Seek God’s guidance in my quest to end binge eating. a. Pray every morning for the discipline and wisdom to make healthy eating choices. Also pray for the strength to overcome Satan’s temptation to self-sabotage or try to comfort myself with food. b.Cut out trigger foods: Sugar is my biggest issue. Don’t buy it. Keep it out of my house. c.Create better ways to handle stress and disappointment.
Now for part two of the “loving others like I love myself” resolution. How can I love my neighbors better? This is the part that could get overwhelming as there are literally billions of people on this planet that I am not loving very well. I am going to narrow it down a little bit to a few specific sets of people I can better love in 2019.
- Prayerfully seek to love my immediate family, my extended family and close friends, and the struggling women, teens and children of Cheyenne better this year. a. God made me first a wife. I will be an honoring wife who supports and loves my husband, always seeking ways to make Jeff feel loved and valued. b.My girls are my next greatest priority. Lord teach me how to raise them to be mighty little daughters of your kingdom. I will focus on being present, setting time aside just to be there mom and show them how special and loved they are. c. God has blessed me with an incredible family and close friends that might as well be family. I will love them better. I will pray diligently for them. I will be a better friend. d. I will hold the vision God gave me of a living center for struggling women, teens and children with open hands expecting God to work it into something beautiful. While I am waiting for His miracle to happen in my city, I will meet the women he has asked me to love where they are. I will commit myself to building League of Hope. I will share my testimony and the truth that God loves each of them and wants to call them HIS.
I have never felt better about a set of resolutions. After testing them, it is clear they all passed through the filter of Matthew 22:36-40 with flying colors. I pray the Holy Spirit will be with me and give me the strength and discipline to stick to them all year long. I am excited to come back this time next year and be able to report to my Father in Heaven, that I kept His commandments. I would love to hear from you. After reading this post have any of your resolutions changed? Has God given you some new resolutions? Comment below and let me know.
Happy New Year, may your 2019 be filled with health, peace and the joy that comes only from the Lord.