Answers the question: How can I really worship God in everything I do?
If you're like most people, you just can't help it. Something about the newness of the New Year makes you want to get a new start and start all over again.
And this is how New Year's resolutions came about. I'll lose weight, get in shape, stop smoking, start exercising, save money, save the whales, and maybe even save the planet in an Al Gore sort of way!
My personal favorite resolution is this:
Before I criticize a man, I walk a mile in his shoes. That way, if he gets angry, he's a mile away and barefoot.
But then January 2nd or 3rd rolls around, and the noble things we resolved to do at the New Year's Eve party get taken out with all the rest of the garbage from that night. Then the guilt sets in for a bit, but not for too long, because everybody else we know broke their promises as well.
You know what the problem is? Our resolutions are focused on things too small. Oh I know you might be thinking the opposite - like the things we promise end up being too difficult, and so we give up - right? But think about it, are they really that hard? Let's see - I want to lose weight...I got it! I'll eat less and work out more! Brilliant! Or how about exercise? Well, you could walk around the block, get a Nintendo Wii and play tennis, or heck - just buy a ferret and let him loose in the house.
See what I mean? Easy stuff here folks. So easy that deep down we're not really challenged, so we give up and stay in our happy little ruts.
So I have a New Year's resolution for you that is challenging, life changing, and one that will not only transform you, but it will impact the world around you as well. In fact, I don't dare you to take this one, I triple dog dare you!
It comes from the Apostle Paul, and it forms the cornerstone of the entire Christian life:
"Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Corinthians 10:31)
In other words (to paraphrase The Police), every breath you take, every move you make, make God look good in your corner of the world.
That's what doing everything to God's 'glory' means. The word "glory" here refers to the shining presence of Christ - so it means that your choices either let the light of Jesus out, or it hides it in a cloud of sin.
It means that everyone who knows you're a Christian is watching you and forming an opinion about God based on the way you act, because your everyday choices are painting a picture of God that is on display for all the world to see.
So what sort of picture of God is on the wall of your life? If your primary motive each day is to think and act in a way that pleases God, that picture will be attractive and beautiful to look at. But...if your life is no different than people who don't know Christ, that picture will be fake and even laughable.
With this New Year upon us, we have an amazing opportunity to glorify God in everything we do. How? Well - if you're serious about this, the Holy Spirit will give you plenty of input, but here are a few ideas to help your life paint an accurate picture of God:
Put others first
Ask others to help you avoid and resist temptation
Realize that you don't have to disobey God
Be filled with the Spirit
Tell others about how they can have eternal life through Christ
Pray all the time
Study the Bible to get a picture of how God wants you to live
Treat others the way you would want to be treated
Think about how your decisions impact God's name and fame
And so on - and so on - I think you're probably getting the idea.
Bottom line: live each moment with the thought that Jesus is right beside you...because, in fact, He is. And that's really the key to making 2008 the year that will make God's name great!
Lane Palmer is the Youth Ministries Specialist for Dare 2 Share Ministries in Arvada, Colo., where he works with to provide resources for youth leaders and students. Dare 2 Share exists to energize and equip teens to know, live, share and own their faith in Jesus. For more information on Dare 2 Share Ministries or the GameDay youth conference tour, please visit www.dare2share.org. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.