SFFC NEWSLETTER – JANUARY 2020
Hello Strong Faith Family,
Happy New Year!
Resolutions that Work
Each January, many people make New Year’s Resolutions vowing to quit smoking, be kinder, exercise more, or whatever behavior modification they feel would be a change for the better. By month’s end, these resolutions usually have been abandoned because “change is just so hard.” And it’s true, if you are trying to change yourself, it will be difficult and you will struggle. The way to break this cycle of attempting to change, failing, feeling condemned, then vowing to do better next time is to give up! This does not mean just indulge your flesh and be okay with it, but that the way to change is to quit looking at the physical realm (your efforts) and focus on the spiritual realm (God’s kingdom, what He provides).
Galatians 5:16-17 (ESV) But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
Many people read this verse with a sort of dyslexia. Verse 16 does not say: if you deny yourself the desires of the flesh then you will be walking in the Spirit. See, your desires may be good – to see a positive change in your life – but if you’re trying to fulfill them by your own will-power (in the flesh), verse 17 says you will actually be kept from doing what you want to do! Instead, when you give up – submit your thoughts, desires, will-power, and emotions to the Holy Spirit and begin to walk (live your life) by His leading – your constant struggle will disappear. This sounds too simple because we are so used to change being difficult. But, remember, the definition of the Greek word gospel is “nearly too good to be true news.”
In Matthew 11:30, Jesus told us that His yoke (His teaching, His way of directing our lives) is easy and light, not harsh and heavy. The struggle comes when you’re trying to do things your way; constantly trying to change your outward actions (modify your behavior) rather than acknowledging the change that has already occurred because you have accepted Christ. The only effort you need to put forth to walk in the Spirit (and thereby bring about the changes you desire in your life) is to choose to spend time with God. When you turn off the TV, put down the phone, and seek The Lord instead, you will see change in your life without laboring for it. Sing praises to the Lord, pray in the Spirit, and read and meditate on The Word until you truly believe that you are a brand new creation in every area.
2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV) Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Ordained for Impact
Pastor David opened his new series, Ordained for Impact, with this statement: Spending time in God’s presence will change your desires, your thoughts, your words, and the direction of your life. You will begin to see that you are a vital part of God’s strategy to impact and change the world. Whether you think you do or not, you have influence in people’s lives. Ask God to show you who you are impacting and how you are impacting them. When you love God enough to answer His call, you will see that your destiny (your ordained impact) is to positively affect those around you. Jesus said:
Matthew 5:13-14 (MSG) Let Me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth… You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world.
The way you are to influence this world (be salt and light) is to tangibly meet people’s needs; to do the good works God has ordained you to do. Doing so will make both you and God supremely happy! As a Christian, you should continually be seeking to find a need and fill it or find a hurt and heal it. God has called us to care for one another – Philippians 2:4 (NLT) Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too – because we are all brothers and sisters. God has determined when and where you would live so that you could impact the people He has ordained you to impact. Be the salt and the light God has called you to be!
Acts 17:26-27 (NIRV) From one man He made all the people of the world. Now they live all over the earth. He decided exactly when they should live. And He decided exactly where they should live. God did this so that people would seek Him. And perhaps they would reach out for Him and find Him. They would find Him even though He is not far from any of us.