On New Year's Day I opened my Bible and stumbled upon Romans 12:1-21.
A Living Sacrifice1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Humble Service in the Body of Christ3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
Love in Action9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
As I was reading this passage, the Lord revealed to me that He wants me to do these things this year:
1. Offer myself as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God-as a spiritual act of worship.
2. To not conform to the [fallen] world around me.
3. To not be boastful. To humble myself. And to find my identity in Christ. (not in good deeds or other things)
4. To live and work together in harmony with others.
5. To recognize we all have different gifts. He wants me to grow into the gifts He has graced me with and not compare myself with others.
6. To love compassionately and sincerely.
7. To look for those who need to be loved and love all those around me regardless of their background, situation, or what others will say or think.
8. To put OTHERS first.
9. "Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, SERVING the Lord."
10. "Be JOYFUL in hope, PATIENT in affliction, FAITHFUL in prayer."
11. To practice hospitality-focus on others, not myself.
12. To love all people of different status, social circles, races, and religions. No one is beneath anyone else.
13. DO NOT BE CONCEITED.
14. Love others despite their downfalls or actions because Christ loved me like that. Offer grace that reflects the grace I have been given.
15. Accept grace both from God and those around me.
I want this to be an "others focused year" and in that, find personal growth. I am excited to not only see what this semester holds but what this year holds. (I know I'm about a month late for all this hopeful "New Year's Talk") I'm praying for growing and learning with my academics as well in my spiritual life and where God is going to lead me to serve Him.
Have a blessed week and be open to what God may be asking you to do this week, month, or year. Everyday is a new opportunity for a fresh start. Don't think you can only make resolutions or changes in your life on January 1st or at the beginning of a season in your life.
Full of hope,