New Year New Focus

Yes, I realize it’s January 19th so this post is a couple of weeks late but hey, at least it’s still the first month of the year!

God has put on my heart 2 different issues I need to work on. In a word or two… JOY and SIN. The world would say that there’s no such thing as sin and that joy is the same as happiness. Can I challenge you to look at joy and sin in a biblical context?

So, the bad news… Sin is real and believe it or not you are a sinner! Sin entered the world when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. Before, there was no death or pain or sin but Eve listened to the serpent and decided it looked too delicious to pass it up. Genesis 3:6-7 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.

From that point on sin was in the world. Genesis 4:7 If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and it’s desire is for you, but you must master it. I think we can all agree that sin is real… right? If it wasn’t why would Jesus have to die such a terrible death to save us?

For me, I believe without a doubt that sin is real and I commit it just about everyday. What I want to focus on this year is living a righteous life. No, not perfect… only Jesus lived a perfect life. I want to take my sin seriously. I don’t want to just confess and repent (or appear to repent) just because I know God is watching… that isn’t true repentance and it reeks of the attitude of… well God forgives so I screwed up and I’ll do better next time. NO! I want to truly be sorry for my sin and actually take steps and make an effort not to do that I again. There are too many people in the world who call themselves Christian yet don’t take their sin seriously. Join me in coming to the foot of the cross, confessing our sin, turning away from it and living a righteous life. Not perfect… but with sincere effort… not just words. Remember, God knows our heart and our thoughts.

Now onto joy. I believe there is a difference between joy and happiness. Webster’s dictionary defines joy as 1) the emotion evoked by well- being, 2) a state of happiness or felicity, 3) a source or cause of delight. Webster’s also lists well-being and felicity in its definition of happiness. For me, I believe that joy truly comes from the Lord and if we are seeking Him continuously He will give us joy whether or not our circumstances would declare joy.

I love what God says in Nehemiah 8:10 Then he said to them, “Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” I love that the JOY of the LORD in my strength!

Psalms 5:11 But let all who take refuge in You be glad, Let them, ever sing for joy; And may You shelter them, That those who love Your name may exult in You.

There are so many verses is just the Psalms that talk about joy. I want that joy no matter how good or bad my day is going. And even more important is that I want my family to see my joy no matter the circumstances. Fortunately, our children have a father that is much better then I at showing joy no matter the situation. He inspires me to seek our God and rest in God’s joy no matter what. I’m reminded of Paul in prison. When he and Silas were in prison they were praying and singing hymns of praise to God. To me that is a steadfast joy that can only come from God.

So, my spiritual goals for 2018… take my sin seriously and make sincere efforts to turn away from sin and live a holy life. I believe living this kind of life is a journey that takes your whole life to perfect. This is what sanctification is all about. Our lives are to be continuously pointing towards and living up to His standards. And to find joy in all my circumstances.

Will you join me?

Psalms 51:12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit.

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