The New Year is here. It is now time to write 2016 on all your checks and letters (this is one of the hardest things for me to remember to do). It is a tradition for people to make New Year Resolutions every January 1st. It seems like it is also a tradition to “break” one’s resolutions within days or weeks of making them.
The term “resolve” means to decide firmly on a course of action. That means a “resolution” is a firm determination to do something. When you search out the most common resolutions that people make at the start of a new year, you will find three common themes. Most resolutions address areas of life such as:
- Eating healthier
- Exercising more
- Breaking one or more bad habits
As we start the New Year, I believe that Christians need to make and keep resolutions like I have listed above. Over the next couple of weeks I want to share with you my thoughts on these resolutions. In order to be successful in ministry in 2016 we must have resolve to take a certain course of action in each of these areas of life.
Americans are always trying to lose weight by changing their eating habits. Estimates indicate that 45 million Americans diet each year. They spend over $33 billion annually on weight loss products. In 2014, we spent $13 billion on weight loss supplements alone. Even with all this effort to lose weight by eating healthier, 2/3 of U.S. adults are still overweight or obese.
Usually when we think of eating healthier, we imagine giving up all the foods that we really enjoy. I joke about this once in awhile when I say there is proof that we live in a fallen world by the fact that sugar and fat taste so good. Even though we should physically eat healthier since our bodies are God’s temple, we must also develop good eating habits spiritually.
Jesus told His disciples that they needed to develop proper eating habits and that these eating habits start with one’s appetite. You find this in His discourse He delivered in Matthew 5-7. In chapter 5 verse 6 Christ told His disciples to develop the right appetites and, if they did, they would be blessed. They were to hunger and thirst for righteousness! On different occasions, Jesus also talked about what He was eating. He would say that His meat was to do the Father’s will!
It is important that we have an appetite for the right things. Warren Wiersbe commented on this verse when he explained the importance
of having an appetite. He said that being hungry and thirsty gives proof of:
- life. Dead people don’t have appetites. When a person is hungry, it means that they are alive.
- health. When a person gets sick, many times he loses his appetite. Everyone gets excited when a sick person regains his appetite because it indicates his health is being restored.
- need for fuel. After a hard day’s work or some strenuous exercise, a person becomes hungry and thirsty. This is because he has expended energy and needs to have fuel to restore his strength.
These indications do not only apply to our physical lives but also, and more importantly, to our spiritual lives. When we hunger and thirst for righteousness, it is a sign that we are spiritually alive, are in good health and need fresh fuel for the work God has given us to do. We need to develop strong appetites every day in order to meet the ever-increasing challenges of ministry in 2016.
Developing a healthy appetite requires that we eat the right food. God told Ezekiel to open your mouth and eat what I am giving you…Son of man, eat what you find; eat this scroll..So I opened my mouth, and He fed me this scroll. (Ezekiel 2:8, 3:1-2) Ezekiel would not be able to fulfill God’s will for His life if He didn’t have healthy eating habits.
We find that God assured Jeremiah that He would put His word in Jeremiah’s mouth so He would know what to say to the nation of Israel. Jeremiah needed an appetite for God’s Word in order to do God’s will. The food we need to crave is God’s Word. We must have the resolve to read, study and meditate on God’s Word every day of 2016.
When we develop healthy eating habits like this, God promises that we will be filled. One commentary says that God will feed us until we are completely full. There are some types of food that I can gorge myself on but within a few hours I am hungry again. It is different when we eat God’s Word, God promises 100% satisfaction for life.
As we begin 2016, we need to ask ourselves if we have good appetites. Then we must evaluate our eating habits. I have heard it said that one becomes what he eats. Do you hunger and thirst for righteousness or do you have cravings for the things of this world? We need a fresh resolve to open our mouths and eat God’s Word that He wants to put into our lives. Only then will we be prepared for the challenges that lie before us in the New Year.
Be sure to share your comments below. Next week I will share the next resolution we must be committed to in 2016. May God bless you throughout the New Year.