Definition of Resolution: a firm decision to do or not to do something.
“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” PHILIPPIANS 3:8-11 ESV
I need to shift:
How I see what the world has to offer in comparison to Jesus
“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” PHILIPPIANS 3:8 ESV
Who I compare myself to
“Who can be compared with the LORD our God, who is enthroned on high?” PSALM 113:5 NLT
“Not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.” PHILIPPIANS 3:9 ESV
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” MATTHEW 23:27-28 ESV
My view of suffering and difficulty
“…that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,” PHILIPPIANS 3:10 ESV
We endure suffering by finding meaning.
- Suffering increases my prayer life
“Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises.” JAMES 5:13 NLT
“For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.” 1 PETER 2:21 NLT
We don’t look forward to suffering, but we embrace it.
“Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered.” HEBREWS 5:8 NLT
My attention to reality of eternity
“Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart,” ECCLESIASTES 3:11 NLT
“…that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” PHILIPPIANS 3:11 ESV
“One of them was Lydia from Thyatira, a merchant of expensive purple cloth, who worshiped God. As she listened to us, the Lord opened her heart, and she accepted what Paul was saying. She and her household were baptized, and she asked us to be her guests. ‘If you agree that I am a true believer in the Lord,’ she said, ‘come and stay at my home.’ And she urged us until we agreed.” ACTS 16:14-15 NLT
Personal Reflection Guide
Find a place where you can be alone with God. Take some time to breathe deeply, allowing your thoughts to move towards God’s presence. Practice releasing any cares or things that are fighting for your attention or might distract you from simply being with God. As things like this seek to distract you from attending to God, recognize them and simply redirect your attention back to God. Enjoy just being with God!
When you’re ready, begin a conversation with God about how difficulty and or suffering has caused change in you, especially during the challenging times of the last couple years. Ask God some questions like, “Where have I experienced difficulty and/or a type of suffering? How have I responded to it? How has it shaped my physical, spiritual, thought and emotional life? How has it caused me to become more or less like Jesus?” Resist any urge to plainly answer these questions, instead allowing them to act as conversation starters for your time with God.
Finally, consider journaling or writing down what comes from your time with God. Journaling can be a way to pray, organizing your thoughts and getting them out where you can see them, and recall them. Then, when you’re done, bring your conversation with God to a close with a brief prayer, thanking him for your time together.
- Personal Reflection: Begin group time with the Personal Reflection Guide. Journal any reflections in the space below, sharing with the group, to the extent you’re willing and can trust them, what God brought up in you.
- Real with Self: What is it about change that’s difficult for you? In what real ways have you struggled with change in your life?
- Real with Self: To what extent are you open to God and willing to trust him to make a “Holy Shift” in your life?
- Real with God: In what ways is your world view more like God’s view of this world? In what ways does it differ from God’s view of this world?
- Real with Others: To what extent are you sacrificing what you want now for what you ultimately want, especially when it comes to your personal walk with Christ?
- Real with Others: In what areas of your life are you praying for worldly desires and in what areas are you praying for Godly desires? In what ways might your “personal” desires be masquerading as “Godly” desires? Pray and ask God to open your heart to the changes he desires to make in your life this year.