ENJOYING LIFE IN THE NEW YEAR PART 3
In today’s blog I would like to talk about one more important purpose for our lives — and that is to get ready for heaven. I think God’s plans for us are much bigger — than just the plans that He has for us here on earth. I think His plans extend into eternity. After all, that’s where we will live forever.
Have you ever wondered what we will be doing there? I don’t have any idea, but I am sure God has it all figured out. And I’m sure that it’s far beyond what we can think or imagine.
In heaven, we will be in a state of ultimate existence. That’s because we will be perfect. We will be like God.
Obviously, we won’t be God, but we will be like Him. Our minds will be expanded. We will know all things.
We will have perfect bodies that will never deteriorate. We will never have a bad day. Life will be a series of continuous and exhilarating events.
So how does one get ready for such a place? Well, God is the only One Who can do it. He starts the moment we are “born again”. At that point God begins making us perfect. The process is called sanctification. In sanctification God progressively makes us more and more like Jesus. Galatians 5:22-23 describes what He does.
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”
These fruits describe the character of Jesus. The Holy Spirit produces these fruits through our daily circumstances. For example, if we are in a situation where we must be loving, He will produce the fruit of love.
If we need to be joyful, or peaceful or patient depending on the circumstances, He will produce the required fruit. As He does this he makes us more and more like Jesus.
However, throughout this process, the Holy Spirit has to compete with our sin natures. Our sin natures naturally oppose what the Holy Spirit wants to do — and sometimes they prevail. Let’s look at Galatians 5:16.
“So, I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.”
So, what is our part to play in this process? Very simply WE MUST COOPERATE with the Holy Spirit in the sanctification process. And since sanctification occurs through our circumstances, we must be constantly aware of them, and when we need His fruit. That means no more “auto pilot”. We have to be aware of what’s happening to us moment by moment. We must be aware of when we encounter situations that need the fruit of the Spirit, and when we recognize that we need this fruit, we must ask God to produce it right then and there.
That’s how we cooperate. I have included a sample prayer to show you how to do this:
Dear Lord, I am faced with the following situation ___________. I believe I need the fruit of ______________ to handle this situation in the way You would. Please produce this fruit in me as well as any other fruit You feel is necessary. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.
Let me close by asking you several questions.
A) Are you “born again”?
B) If you aren’t, what are you plans to become “born again”?
C) What are your plans to find out your spiritual gifts?
D) What are your plans to use your spiritual gifts to do the good works God has planned for you long ago?
E) What are your plans to let the Holy Spirit produce the “Fruit of the Spirit” in you through your circumstances?
We’ve got a whole New Year in front of us. Are you going to be any different at the end of this new year — than you have been in the past? Are you just going to repeat the same year you’ve always had? No change, no difference, no significance, no purpose? I sincerely hope not. I pray that you will take this message to heart and put it into practice.
Let’s close in prayer:
Father, we are not in the dark. Thank You that You have given us Your Word which tells us what we must do with our lives. Forgive us for thinking that other things will bring fulfillment and enjoyment. Lord, I realize today that my life is not an accident — that You put me on earth for a reason. I don’t want to waste another second of whatever life I’ve got left. I want to make it count. I want to live life as You meant me to live it.
So, as I begin this New Year, I want to make a fresh start and begin building my life around finding out my gifts and using them. And I want You to build in me Christ like character throughout this year.
At the end of this year I want Your mission for my life to be clearer than ever before. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for dying to make this all possible. I pray this in Your name. Amen.