Most of us make promises to ourselves to mark the beginning of a new year. We may resolve to save more, to exercise more, less time on the internet, to watch our diet, more contact with the family, work more for the church, more leisure time etc. etc. We begin with good intentions, but before long old habits tempt us to take up our old ways. We slip occasionally, then more frequently, and then most of the time. Finally, it’s as if our resolution never existed.
Instead of choosing our own self improvement goals, we might be better to ask ourselves “what does the Lord desire of me?” Our text, through the prophet, answered this in his day when the people were planning all the different sacrifices and offerings they could bring, when he told the people God wants us to do what is right, to be merciful, and to walk humbly with Him. All of these things relate to soul improvement rather than self improvement.
Thankfully, we don’t have to rely on our own strength. The Holy Spirit has the power to help us as believers in our Spiritual growth. Ephesians 3: 16-19 “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ May dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.”
As we begin a new year let us resolve to allow The Spirit to allow us to be more like Christ and to walk humbly with God. The words in the often sung hymn tells us what we should ask of the Spirit.
Holy Spirit, faithful guide!
Ever near the Christians side,
Gently lead us by the hand,
Pilgrims in a desert land.