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Refreshment in Refuge

    by Gina Burgess

I resolve to ...
Date Posted: December 31, 2017

I did a google to see if I could find some funny resolutions to post here. I was shocked at the irreverent and nastiness of some people trying to be funny. Some people have no filter on their minds so some things posted for public consumption leave a really bad taste in my mouth.

Most of what I observed was about justifying maintaining the status quo. Do we Christians really need to resolve to change? Aren't we changed enough already? Paul tells us that we've been metamorphosed from the caterpillar to the butterfly metaphorically speaking. The Holy Spirit indwells so we've got that crown of salvation. But we still have bad habits, some of them habitual sins that aren't easily overcome.

So many of us make New Year’s resolutions with truly less resolution and more "feel better about myself". Sometimes we keep those resolutions alive for several months before they bite the dust: Lose weight, quit smoking, less temper and more patience, better with money management, start saving for retirement. But too often after the first month, it seems all the resolution dissolves.

Most of our resolutions can be reduced down to having more self-control, which is part of the fruit of the Spirit.

If you really do want to be a better person, read Proverbs, a chapter a day for 31 days.

Thirty-one chapters of wisdom that are designed to help us understand human nature and how to act above that nature as a wiser and more godly person. That takes a lot of resolution and self-control.

But wait!

God gave us not a spirit (a spirit, i.e. a simple essence, devoid of all or at least all grosser matter, and possessed of the power of knowing, desiring, deciding, and acting) of fear (timidity) but the Spirit of power (specifically miraculous power usually by implication a miracle itself) and of love (agape kind) and self-control (discipline). 2 Timothy 1:7

Do we need anything else?

Yes.

We need resolve to let loose that power, love, and self-control over our sinful nature.

No, it isn't easy. But once the resolve is in place, the decision is made, the follow-through becomes easier as time marches on. The key is to ask God for the resolution to follow through.

Want to wake up earlier? Ask God to wake you up. All the famous people in the Bible were early risers.

Want to have more patience and less anger, a more controlled temper? Practice it by saying the first 10 words of the Lord's prayer when ever you feel that impatience rising. If you need more time, say the rest of the prayer then follow that with one of your own. Ecclesiastes 7:9 Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, For anger rests in the bosom of fools. Or – Anger boomerangs, you can tell the foolishness of the man by the number of lumps on his head. Ecclesiastes 7:9 The Message.

I was struck on the toes this morning with a proverbial sledge hammer as I studied for teaching the Sunday School lesson. As Stephen was being stoned, he begged for mercy to those stoning him. As Jesus was hanging on the cross, He begged mercy for those who crucified Him.

How often do we beg mercy for those who misuse and abuse us?

If Stephen had not begged mercy, would Saul have become Paul? Of course, there is no answer to that question because God's ultimate plan will always come to fruition. But the principle is the same.

How much fear is displaced by the power of mercy and love and self-control wielded by God through His children?

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Biography Information:
Gina Burgess has taught Sunday School and Discipleship Training for almost three decades. (Don't tell her that makes her old.) She earned her Master's in Communication in 2013.

She is the author of several books including: When Christians Hurt Christians, The Crowns of the Believers and others available in online bookstores. She authors several columns, using her God-given talent to shine a light in a dark world. You can browse her blog at Refreshment In Refuge.

If you'd like to take a look at some Christian fiction and Christian non-fiction book reviews before the books hit the book store shelves, check out Gina's book reviews at Upon Reflection

Gina is a partner and COO of Common Sense Marketing Strategies, LLC that owns Authors Community and eBookChristian.com
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