Having the Right Focus

Dear Members and Friends of IBCZ,

Have you quit yet?  Quit what?  A New Year’s Resolution – if you made one.  If you did, there is a good chance you have given up on it by now.  The most common Resolution has to do with physical fitness – exercising more and eating a healthier diet.  Research has shown that by Jan. 17 is when the most people have given up on their New Year’s Resolution.  For these who persevere past that day, the next biggest drop-off in keeping resolutions is Feb. 9 – just last Saturday.  That is when there is a spike in fast food eating and a drop off in exercise activity.

I believe the key to keeping a Resolution – whether that’s a New Year’s Resolution or any kind – is to keep the big picture in mind.  For instance, if your Resolution is to go to the gym three times a week or to stop eating dessert, there is a good chance you will give up before long, just as research indicates.  That is too much like keeping rules.  However, if you see the big picture of living a healthy life so that you feel well, have plenty of energy for the day, have a positive self-image, and can enjoy hiking in the beautiful mountains, then you’re not dealing with rules but a better way of life, and that will provide greater motivation to do things like exercise and eat well than simply keeping rules or resolutions.

The same thing is true when it comes to our spiritual growth.  A person may make the New Year’s Resolution of spending 20 minutes a day in Bible reading and prayer, or to read through the Bible in a year, or to read one Christian biography a month.  Those are all good goals, but difficult to keep over the long haul.

It is much better to focus on the big picture – the sheer wonder of God and the kind of life God invites us to experience.  God invites us to live each day with the awareness of His presence, the assurance of His guidance, and the experience of His love.  God invites us to root our lives in Him – the eternal God whose power is unlimited, whose wisdom is perfect, and whose faithfulness endures forever.  When we realize all God is and all God offers us, our desire will be to do all we can to cultivate our relationship with Him.

So, whether you made a New Year’s Resolution or not, let us keep before us the greatness of God and the abundant and full life He offers us.

Grace and peace,

Pastor Bob

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