Joel 2:12 “Now, therefore,” says the Lord, “Turn to Me with all your heart…” (NKJV)
Yo-yo dieting. Broken resolve. Backsliding. Besetting sin. Falling away. Here we go again.
Every person who gives even fleeting thought to what is important in life experiences the roller coaster of getting off track, and turning back towards what they know is better or right. Each person has a predisposition towards certain sins, specific tendencies and particular weaknesses that bring us to the point of needing to “turn” to some degree over and over throughout our life.
For the Christian, this “turning” is obviously a need to turn away from what we’ve messed up or strayed into, and turn towards God. To the degree that we “turn with all our heart” to God, our life is fruitful, contented and joyful. Conversely, to the extent we turn to our own ways, we will meet with frustration, dissatisfaction, guilt and a deep down gnawing feeling that things “aren’t right”.
In my experience, I have found that this “turning to God” occurs at certain trigger points:
- By milestone events (such as salvation or a rededication of your life to Him)
- During periodic evaluations of our life that occur in the natural cycles of our lives (birthdays, new years, sicknesses, accidents, etc)
- When convicted by God’s Word that illuminates God’s standards and how far we’ve missed the mark (Rom 3.23)
- When unexpected hardship, tragedy, surprise or trouble occurs.
Of course any time we turn to God in greater depth and devotion it is a good thing, no matter what the catalyst. This series of message is an example of an event (New Years) prompting a focus on turning to God with all your heart. My real goal however is to get you to consider the beneifit of developing a proactive, conscientious and planned program of “turning to God” each and every day, rather than waiting for some trigger like guilt or conviction to cause it.
Turning to God with all your heart should
also be a routinely PLANNED event,
not just something you do for the New Year
or because you’ve backslidden again.
As sinful humans, we are naturally RE-active and not PRO-active about life. We get in debt, and then we have to react to get it all cleaned up. We gain 20 pounds by overeating and then we diet to get it off. We find ourselves, yet again, in the midst of a sinful habit, and we react in repentance and conviction to correct it. We allow the cares and pleasures of this world to get us off track, and then we react with rededication and renewed effort to live a Godly life. Of course there is nothing wrong with those reactions. They are a natural part of life, and it is the person who does NOT react that is truly in trouble.
BUT…. (there’s alway a “but”) as believers we are called to a life of continuous maturing and growth. Part of that maturing is working towards getting off the rollercoaster of reactive living, and onto the path of proactive consistency.
Part of becoming a mature believer is getting
of the roller coaster of reactive living only.
This side of heaven we will never be able to live proactively only. Living in a sin cursed world guarantees that we will always have plenty to react to. We will have struggles with sin. We will have events that cause us to evaluate. We will be convicted by God’s Word and realize our life is not where it should be.
So what does this have to do with “turning to God with all your heart”? I’m saying that if we learn to practice a proactive, deliberate and consistent habit of “turning to God with all your heart” by a routine deliberate plan, then the roller coaster life of up and down spirituality and erratic Christianity can be greatly diminished.
So rather than simply thinking in terms of “new years resolution”, my wish is for us to think about a “new day’s resolution” and make it our new resolution each and every morning to use the coming day to “turn to God with all your heart”.
Tomorrow we will begin to look at how this “turn to God” can be accomplished keeping in mind that it is applicable both reactively (events in our life, times of conviction) and proactively (we can deliberately plan it). By applying this truth each and every day, rather than simply waiting until you realize your life is “off track”, you can jump off the roller coaster of spiritual inconsistency.
Join me tomorrow as we begin to “turn to God with all our heart” not only as our New Year’s resolution but every day as our new day’s resolution.
Lord God, help us to learn to live spiritually proactive turning our whole heart to You each and every day and not just when we feel things have gone wrong. Help us to have a daily resolution for the rest of our lives to turn our heart to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Application: New Years is always a good time to talk about starting over, turning over a new leaf and getting your life on track. The start of another year is a natural trigger point we experience to evaluation our lives. The probem is that our resolutions are typically short-lived feeble efforts based solely in emotiona and personal willpower. Real change comes with day to day effort and a plan to how you live. Real change comes with.
James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?