So what are you thinking about as this new year begins? Are you excited? Are you looking in the mirror and thinking about the new health club membership or diet you’re about to begin?
If you are like me, you may have a love/hate relationship with New Year’s resolutions. I like the idea of a fresh start, but I have far too many past experiences that go something like this … “Try hard. Fail. Try harder. Fail again. Try even harder. Give up!” You probably can identify.
But the real problem is that often the same thing happened in my spiritual life. I would vow to read the Bible more often, pray longer, be kinder, get involved – only to experience the same pattern of self-effort followed by failure.
Looking back now, I realize that my view of the spiritual life was far more developed by my secular attempts at self-discipline than Scripture. I didn’t understand the grace of God, or how the Holy Spirit works with our desires and effort to connect us in a loving and renewing relationship with Christ.
I didn’t know what it meant to walk with God, enjoy His presence, or how to overcome habitual sin patterns in my life. So many times my ignorance destined me to the “try – hard – fail” syndrome.
But I thank God that He has better things for you and me. I could not be more excited to roll out what GOD has clearly stated in His word about how to experience TRUE SPIRITUALITY!
Do you want to know how to really keep all those resolutions? Especially the spiritual ones? Well here is a clue—you CAN’T! I can’t, you can’t, and no one can! NO ONE EXCEPT THE PERFECT ONE – JESUS CHRIST.
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True Spirituality is not about trying harder and harder to perform and fulfill religious requirements. It is not about the number of religious activities or external rules you can keep out of your best efforts to please God.
True spirituality is about a relationship that is rich and warm and filled with grace and power that leads to ever-increasing freedom to love God and love others. It is about understanding what Christ has already done for you and learning the secret of staying connected to Him through His Word, His people, and His Spirit.
True Spirituality is not some vague mystical feeling that you are constantly trying to recapture, but a clearly defined grace-walk that teaches you how to respond to every relationship in life with His Power – not your own. It’s a supernatural life lived out in the most common and mundane of circumstances. It is Jesus living His life out through you in ways that thrill your heart, bring peace to your soul, and transform the world around you …. it’s what we call an R12 Christian.
To find out more about becoming an R12 Christians, check out these resources.
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip