2 Cor. 13:5 Examine and test and evaluate your own selves to see whether you are holding to your faith and showing the proper fruits of it. Test and prove yourselves [not Christ]. Do you not yourselves realize and know [thoroughly by an ever-increasing experience] that Jesus Christ is in you—unless you are [counterfeits] disapproved on trial and rejected?
As the New Year approaches it is a very important time for believers to evaluate some key areas in their life to make sure they are entering the New Year with God’s plan and purpose for their life. I remember when I was around 17 years old and my dad had rented a small plane to fly me and a friend to a rodeo with a pilot that worked for him. On our flight back I got to sit up front and once we were in the air the pilot taught me how to fly the plane. The key instrument was our altimeter. He showed me that if I don’t keep an eye on that altimeter then we could get out of the range of where we were suppose to be.
It was easy to see that if I did not keep my eyes on that altimeter we would begin to drift up or down without even realizing it had happened. This is what happens often with us as Christians if we don’t keep our eyes on our altimeter, examining our walk of faith and making sure we are staying on track with God. So I want to give you five basic things to help you bring in the New Year on track with God. These are five areas that we need to keep an eye on so we don’t drift back to the ways of the world.
Heb. 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
1. Examine your walk with God.
Faith is often only seen as something we use to get things. But here in Hebrews take note of the last part of this verse. We need to be those who diligently seek Him. Are we diligently seeking our God, or are we seeking other things? Are we seeking only what God can do for us, or are we seeking the relationship God desires with us? To know that we are diligently seeking Him and not the rewards that He can provide we need to check our heart to see what are we passionate about. What you are passionate about you are consumed with. It fills your thoughts and it is what motivates you each and every day. If your heart is not passionately pursing God, make a change today and chase Him, not the world nor His rewards.
Matt. 6:19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;
Matt. 6:20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
Matt. 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matt. 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
2. Examine your money.
Another area we need to make sure we have in line with Word of God is our money. Focus in here on verse 21 and 24. Where our treasure is there our heart will be also. If we don’t honor God with our money in tithes and offerings, then we are serving mammon not God. The people who get offended at this are those who are serving mammon. The problem is if we are serving mammon then we are not going to walk in faith with our God. It is a fact as Jesus clearly states here you CANNOT serve God and mammon. If you honor God with your money then money does not control your destiny, God does. So make sure you are not serving mammon in 2013.
Mark 11:25“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.
Mark 11:26But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
3. Examine your heart toward others.
One of the most damaging things to the believer’s faith is unforgiveness. It will lead to a root of bitterness and torment from the enemy. Jesus clearly states here that if we do not forgive others, then our Father in heaven will not forgive us of our trespasses. This is serious stuff. Unforgiveness is like a cancer in the Christian. There is no reason once we are born again that we cannot forgive others no matter what they have done to us. Take a look at the following verse about what God has done for us.
Psa. 103:10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities.
There is none good but one, and that would be God. For everyone who has received the mercy and grace God has shown to us through Christ Jesus, we will not get what we deserved. That is mercy. God has not dealt with those who are born again according to our sins, nor will we face the punishment we deserve. The reason is because God is looking to what Jesus did for us, not what we had done. We can do the same because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Forgiveness is nothing more than a choice we make to release those who have wronged us. If you have unforgiveness in your heart toward anyone and you want God’s forgiveness in your life, then make the choice to show them the same mercy God has shown you.
Prov. 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do.
Prov. 4:24 Avoid all perverse talk; stay far from corrupt speech.
Prov. 4:25 Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you.
Prov. 4:26 Mark out a straight path for your feet; then stick to the path and stay safe.
Prov. 4:27 Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.
4. Examine what you hear, see, and do.
Our heart is our spirit man. Most people don’t realize the impact of what they hear, see, and do has in relationship to them experiencing the kind of life God desires for them. As verse 23 states above your heart affects everything you do. If you listen to things that are not edifying, godly, scriptural, but feed instead on television, movies, and surround yourself with ungodly friends you are filling your heart with corrupt speech. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. James says that your words are what determine your pathway in life. So if you don’t guard your heart from perverse and corrupt things, they will corrupt you.
It is just as important to pay attention to what you see and what you do. If you are looking at things that a believer should have not part in such as pornography, books, etc., they too will affect your heart. Many women for example don’t realize that many books they read that are filled with adultery, fantasies, and ungodly lifestyles will have a negative impact on their lives. We are to look straight ahead which refers to not looking aside at what worldly people look too, and we must also pay attention to what we are doing. Scripture tells us to have NO fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, and yet many believers flirt with sin and have sinner friends who influence their behavior. Scripture reveals that the righteous choose their friends carefully, for even the wicked WILL lead them astray (Proverbs 12:26). We should be influencing the sinner, not them influencing us.
Phil. 3:13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,
Phil. 3:14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
5. Leave the past behind and press toward your future.
We need to realize that if we hold on to our past then we are not going forward into the future of what God has for us. You have to make a determined decision to let go of what is behind. No matter what you have been through or what challenges you have faced, focusing on those things that may not have worked out the way you wanted could lead you to blame God or others. God is true to His Word and when we do what the Word says, it works.
I have talked with many believers who are always bringing up the past whether it has to do with them or someone else. What they don’t realize is if they will focus on what they can do today that is in line with God’s Word instead, then they are on their way to changing their tomorrows. As Paul stated above we don’t just forget what is behind, we must press toward what is ahead. This is where our effort must be when it comes to what we do and what we are thinking about.
If you want to bring in the New Year headed into all that God has for you, then take the time to examine your walk of faith. Make sure that you are on the right course with God. Examine your walk with God, examine what your doing with your money, examine your heart toward others, examine what you hear, see, and do; and forget the past, press forward into what God has for you. 2013 can and will be an exciting year for those who stay the course with God!
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker