Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Christians should not be like everyone else. Our values and priorities should be different. We should be so changed by salvation, people might even think we’re weird.
In Craig Groeschel’s book Weird: Because Normal Isn’t Working, he wrote about his weird approach to making New Year’s resolutions. He makes only one New Year’s resolution and that resolution is chosen by someone else. He prays constantly as the new year approaches asking how God wants his life to change.
Instead of having good intentions centered on the self, Groeschel says we should have God intentions centered on what God wants.
How do we know what God wants? We can ask God to reveal his intentions for us and listen for his response. Groeschel suggested some questions to help discern God’s will.
1. What one thing do you desire from God?
2. What one thing do you lack?
3. What one thing do you need to let go?
4. What one promise do you need to claim?
I reflected on these questions for a week and they helped clarify God’s intentions for me for the New Year.
The first question is easy for me to answer. More than anything else, I want my husband to have a relationship with Jesus. Last year, I became upset with him when he refused to go to a church dinner with me. I realized I have to let go and let God.
The second question is harder. The Lord is my shepherd. I lack nothing. But is there one thing that keeps me from whole-heartedly following The Good Shepherd? Is there one issue that God keeps putting on my heart?
I felt the Spirit’s conviction when I read what Groeschel had to say about being a people pleaser:
When we place the approval of other people ahead of doing what we know will please our Father, we’re creating a false idol. Not only does it impair our ability to know God, but it also sends us on a wild-goose chase for a golden egg that doesn’t exist.
At times my desire for social approval keeps me from being myself, from freely sharing my faith. I compare myself to people who seem more successful, talented, or adventurous. I envy them. When I let other people define my worth, I conform to the ways of this world. Even worse, I am not being grateful for the unique talents God has given me.
What one thing do I need to let go to live with God-centered intentions? Groeschel suggested that it might be something from the past, perhaps hurts or failures. I think that measuring myself against other people is a sign of lingering self-esteem issues from my childhood.
Finally, what promise do I need to claim? There are so many promises in God’s word, it’s hard to choose one. I claim this promise:
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Heavenly Father, forgive me for envying others. This year, I resolve to please You, my Creator, above all others and to reject the world’s standards of worthiness. I am grateful that you gave me unique talents and experiences. I embrace my weirdness. How wonderful it is that you love me and that You have a plan for me!
Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash