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Pressing into God’s calling

New year’s resolutions or not, as Christians change is part of our calling.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not good at achieving my goals.

I’m just not very target-orientated. So new year’s resolutions are always a bit hit and miss for me. Last week I read back on my end-of-year reflection from 2017 and it turned out that I’d committed myself to some faith-related goals which I had promptly forgotten about. I did manage to get all the way to mid-March before my attempt to read the Bible in a year fell by the wayside – something I am picking up again (from where I left off!) this year. We’ll see how that goes.

Maybe you’re more successful than me at accomplishing the goals you set yourself as each new year rolls around. Maybe you thrive on having a target to work towards and achieving a goal you’ve set yourself is part of your yearly cycle. If you did manage to read 100 books in 2018, or make a major life-change, or get yourself fitter and healthier, then well done!

But whether you love goals or hate them, ultimately the new year challenge is to prepare ourselves for personal change. While it’s true that change can be good, we know that it is also difficult and our instinct as humans is to avoid it. It can be far easier to sit in our present state than to begin to face new things, unknown things, scary things, even if we know that the ultimate outcome might be for the best.

As Christians, though, it’s important that we work out how to face change well. In the New Testament Jesus promises us that He has come to give us life and life in all its fullness (John 10:10). Paul writes to the Corinthians of the power of the Spirit to invoke change in us when we reflect on the glory of God (2 Corinthians 3). When I read these verses, I’m not sure that change is an optional extra for Christians. I think that change is an essential part of our journey of faith, part of our growth as followers of Jesus: when we press into Him, we will need to press into change.

I don’t know about you, but I know that I’ve got a long way to go before I’m more like Jesus – which means that my need to change and grow is an essential part of my life in Christ. We are called to sit at the feet of Jesus, to gaze on His wonderful face and to emulate what we see. And I can see that I need to change. 

As we press into Jesus, and as the Holy Spirit does its work of sanctification, we’ll probably begin to recognise the changes that will follow in our daily lives. Maybe, in contemplating the peace of God, we’ll realise that it’s time to work out how to change our perspective on someone or something that aggravates us. Maybe, in contemplating the calling of God, we’ll recognise that it’s time to step out into a new, scary opportunity. Maybe, in contemplating the humility of God, we’ll understand that it’s time to stop doing something that we’re very used to, very secure in, but has begun to run its course.

Change – whether inspired by new year goals or resolutions or not – is a challenge. It can be uncomfortable and frightening, even when the outcome will ultimately allow us to live in God’s fullness. But when we trust in the unchanging love of Jesus, we can face changes in our lives with a confidence that if all else fails, our God is with us. 

Perhaps you, like me, can kick-off this year by asking the Holy Spirit to show you what needs to change so that you can become more like Jesus.

About the author

Alexandra has been at the Evangelical Alliance since 2015. Previously she worked for Evangelical Alliance member Release International. Alexandra has a masters degree in Democracy and Democratisation from University College London and spent time with the Baptist Missionary Society in Kosovo. Alexandra is part of the leadership team at her church.

See more from Alexandra Davis

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