When we started the year 2017, we embarked on a detoxification project with The Purge, reminding ourselves that we have a Great Cloud of Witnesses cheering us on, and therefore we resolved to rid ourselves of anything that could distract us from having a fruitful year. Although 2017 came with its own set of challenges, God’s grace abounded even more through it all. Every test, trial, and challenge helped to rid us of ourselves so we could exhibit more of God that our lives could bring Him Glory.
For the year 2018, we would need to take it a step further by traveling light because the Christian journey requires that we travel light. Although we detoxified at the beginning of the year, along the way we could have picked up extra baggage that could slow us down in our walk or race. Indeed, 2018 will not bring anything new with it. It is like the computer jargon GIGO – Garbage In, Garbage Out. It is what you take into 2018, that will serve as the seed to provide the harvest you require of it. However, in order to travel light, we first need to carry out a critical assessment of our lives, evaluating them through the microscope of God’s Word. It is through the lenses of God’s Word that we are able to properly evaluate the seen and unseen pieces of baggage which could cause us to drag along, and not make the kind of progress we ought to.
That is why it is very crucial to conduct an end of year assessment of your life, see where you stand and make the necessary adjustments prior to the new year. The 4 main areas to look at are:
“Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins” [Hebrews 12:1, MSG].
- It is out of the abundance of the human spirit, that the issues of our lives stem from. Therefore, when we are healthy spiritually, the things around us tend to flourish.
- That is is why we are encouraged to guard our heart (our spirit man) diligently. There are things in the world that seek to contaminate our spirits, but we resist those things steadfastly through the Word, Prayer, and Worship.
- Do not neglect your personal relationship with the Lord. Make the necessary sacrifices to ensure that this aspect of your life does not suffer or falter. Everything else in your life is predicated on it; this is the center of it all.
- If the center is not strong, nothing else built on it will stand, like the builder who built on sand and not on the solid rock.
2. Soulical (Emotional & Mental):
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor [perpetual animosity, resentment, strife, fault-finding] and slander be put away from you, along with every kind of malice [all spitefulness, verbal abuse, malevolence]. Be kind and helpful to one another, tender-hearted [compassionate, understanding], forgiving one another [readily and freely], just as God in Christ also forgave you” [Ephesians 4:31-32, AMP].
“Dear brothers, you are only visitors here. Since your real home is in heaven, I beg you to keep away from the evil pleasures of this world; they are not for you, for they fight against your very souls” [1 Peter 2:11, TLB].
- The soul is the seat of the human mind, will, and emotions.
- As born-again Christians, ideally, our soul is to be regulated by our recreated spirit.
- However, if our spirit man is not healthy, external influences can impose the wrong things unto our souls. When this happens, we find ourselves manifesting in fleshly ways instead of in spiritual ways.
- Instead of running away from temptations, we find ourselves easily yielding to them. We find ourselves holding onto the things we need to let go off and letting go of the things we need to hang onto.
- This, in turn, affects our mental state of being, given the myriad of internal conflicts that we end up dealing with. When things wage against our souls, it is as though we are constantly fighting on the inside to stay sane.
- Have you done a mental check this year to determine the state of your mind? Have you evaluated the state of your soul to see if you are dealing with any internal conflicts?
“If you’re honest in small things, you’ll be honest in big things; If you’re a crook in small things, you’ll be a crook in big things” [Luke 16:10, MSG].
- Many of us are believing God for financial breakthroughs and great financial miracles.
- However, while we are waiting on God, God is also looking at us in how we have managed and continue to manage the resources He has given us presently.
- It is required of a steward to be faithful. How faithful have you been in your finances, not just in regards to your giving in church but in other aspects of your life?
- Do you have a savings account and consistently working on building it? How about retirement portfolios and other investment accounts, so that the money you have been graced with can yield returns for you, like the wise steward who multiplied the resources given him by his master?
- How is your spending habit like? Are you like the prodigal son who blew away his inheritance once it was given him, on frivolous spending? Are you struggling to pay your bills due to improper planning and spending? Is your wardrobe lined with shoes and clothes you barely wear, and yet you keep purchasing more?
- Are you compassionate in giving to those who need, while also learning to give in and with wisdom?
4. Academic/Career/Business Ambitions:
“Do you see a man skillful and experienced in his work? He will stand [in honor] before kings; He will not stand before obscure men” [Provers 22:29, AMP].
- The way to the top is not for the lazy or for those who are quick to make and give excuses.
- What manner of person are you in your academic, career or business life? Know and understand that there is no smooth path to any of the aforementioned.
- However, the world is looking for and seeking to honor those who despite the challenges that come their way, are able to provide lasting solutions to those challenges, instead of excuses.
- Set yourself apart as a solution provider and not a problem amplifier. Build yourself up in the areas where you have opportunities and look for opportunities to consistently display your God-given strengths.
- Not all things will come to you naturally, but as you apply yourself to learn in humility, the things that once seemed challenging, become easy.
- Want to stand before kings? Then become a person of excellence.
Cheers to an exciting and fruitful 2018. Happy New Year, from us at VL Bible Study!