A short sentence or phrase chosen as encapsulating the beliefs or ideals guiding an individual, family, or institution: A MOTTO.
Please muse over two or three of these mottos and be intentional about putting them into practice. I provided 10 options to give you a a variety to choose from. Consider sharing your resolve with another person!
#1 THE FARTHER BACKWARD YOU LOOK, THE FURTHER FORWARD YOU ARE LIKELY TO SEE.
“Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; You will raise up the age-old foundations; And you will be called the repairer of the breach, The restorer of the streets in which to dwell.”– Isaiah 58:12 NASB
The context of the Isaiah passage is a view to the final restoration of the millennial Jerusalem, of which Nehemiah’s rebuilding of the wall was only a foretaste. The great prophet Nehemiah was a repairer and a restorer. Oh Lord, may we be the same!
• How will you restore Biblical foundations in your sphere of influence?
• This year live to be a repairer. What does that mean for you?
#2 IF WE COULD READ THE SECRET HISTORY OF OUR ENEMIES, WE SHOULD FIND IN EACH MAN’S LIFE SORROW AND SUFFERING ENOUGH TO DISARM ALL HOSTILITY.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
“Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.” – Galatians 6:1 NLT
• Will you attempt to be someone who lifts another up who has been taken over by sin?
• This year call down blessing and rewards on those who have hurt you! (Romans 12:14)
Only by the power of the Holy Spirit can we do this!
#3 IT IS MORE NOBLE TO GIVE YOURSELF COMPLETELY TO ONE INDIVIDUAL THAN TO LABOR DILIGENTLY FOR THE MASSES.
“For many are called, but few are chosen.”– Matthew 22:14 NLT
“When morning came, He chose twelve of them whom He also designated as apostles.”– Luke 6:13
• Will you attempt to disciple a few men or women in 2023?
The books the Master Plan of Evangelism and the Master Plan of Discipleship by Robert Coleman are great books to use to disciple others. Josh McDowell did this with me and 4 other guys in the summer of 1967! Entrust these few to teach and disciple others. (2 Timothy 2:2).
• List four people you will labor for diligently to help them be transformed into the image of Christ.
“My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you,” – Galatians 4:19 NKJV
#4 STOP POINTING OUT PROBLEMS. BECOME PART OF THE SOLUTION.
“Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.”– Romans 12:21 NKJV
• Here is a good suggestion: Attempt to do 2-3 demonstrative acts of goodness every day with the intention to lift up the name of Jesus Christ in the process.
• Will you be righteously intentional while being aware and addressing the evil around you by providing Biblical truth to the situation, or for a person?
# 5 “Our brains essentially have two modes, focused or unfocused.”
Michael Easter Contributing editor to Men’s Health Magazine
Focused mode is a mind at attention. In our walk with Christ, we ought to be intentionally thinking about the works of Christ, His desired will for us, how His truth is applied in our daily routines and to the broader culture.
“Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”– Colossians 3:2 NASB
8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. – Philippians 4:8 NLT
Unfocused mode occurs when we are not paying attention. It is like resting and resetting our minds in Him allowing the Holy Spirit to rejuvenate our heart and spirit.
“Be still in the presence of the LORD and wait patiently for Him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.” – Psalm 37:7 NLT
“I don’t concern myself with matters too great or too awesome for me to grasp. 2 Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself, like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother’s milk. Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me.” – Psalm 131:1, 2 NLT
- With all the negative and depressing things to focus on in our society, diligently attempt to think on the things that are positive. Will you attempt to do this?
Yes ❑ No ❑ (Please check one 🙂
• For one week keep a record of your thought life for each day.
#6 FACE YOUR FEARS. FIGHT FOR WHAT IS RIGHT
Many have said these things, but these are things I daily seek to live by.
“Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.”– Psalm 23:4 NLT
• Many of us are encountering challenging situations that cause us fear. If you are fearful, will you courageously attempt to move through your fear to find the good that will glorify God? We are in this together, friends.
“Timothy, my son, here are my instructions for you, based on the prophetic words spoken about you earlier. May they help you fight well in the Lord’s battles.” – 1Timothy 1:18 NLT
• List one to three righteous causes you will struggle in to win the battle for righteousness.
• Will you engage in the battle or be content to sit in the stands?
#7 LIVE FOR THE AUDIENCE AND APPLAUSE OF ONE
Many people have said this. I say this to outsiders at least once a week.
“So, whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free.”– James 2:12 NLT
“So why do you condemn another believer? Why do you look down on another believer? We will all stand before the judgment seat of God.” – Romans 14:10 NLT
• None of us have or will bat a thousand. However, will you choose to order your life for the audience of One?
#8 IN ORDER TO LOSE WEIGHT AND KEEP THE WEIGHT OFF IS THE ABILITY TO GET COMFORTABLE WITH DISCOMFORT.
“But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”–1Corinthians 9:27 ESV
People usually fail in eating less and lose the battle after a handful of weeks because their bodies fight back to their starting point. It is our ability to persist against the discomfort of hunger which is necessary for weight loss.
Get Comfortable with Discomfort!
“I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.”– Philippians 4:12 NLT
• With conviction for my own need to succeed in how I eat, I ask you and myself– Will we make a disciplined effort to make progress in increasing our physical health? Yes ❑ No ❑ (Please check one)
• Name several purposeful steps you will take in 2023 to advance in this area.
“1 When you sit down to eat with a ruler, observe carefully what is before you, 2 and put a knife to your throat if you are given to appetite. 3 Do not desire his delicacies, for they are deceptive food.” – Proverbs 23:1-3 ESV
While it is easy to judge Sodom for the sexual sins, (Jude 7) we also learn from Ezekiel that pride, laziness, gluttony, and indifference to the needy were sins that contributed to its judgment.
“And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment.”– Jude 1:7 NLT
“Sodom’s sins were pride, gluttony, and laziness, while the poor and needy suffered outside her door.”– Ezekiel 16:49 NLT
#9 PRAY WITHOUT CEASING
The Apostle Paul
“Pray without ceasing.”– 1 Thessalonians 5:17 KJV.
“Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.”– Ephesians 6:18 NLT
- This year I will make it a habit to pray out loud spontaneously for others as the need arises. Here are a number of occasions: while on the phone with someone, at the grocery store, the workout center, in the house with your children, sending your kids off to school, celebrating an occasion, or when someone is sick or discouraged. Please pray out loud, even placing your hand on them or your arms around them.
• Preface your prayers with comments like, I would like to pray for you. Is it OK if I pray right now for you? Can I pray? I would love to pray for you now.
- Holy Spirit I purpose to take the occasion to spontaneously pray with and for others out loud and not wait for the so-called, “perfect opportunity” that usually never comes. I will take the initiative!
Yes, I will ❑ Please check to help solidify your intentions.
#10 POWER IS RELEASED IN OBEDIENCE
“You see a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.” – James 2:24
Martin Luther did a great disservice to Christianity (even though his intentions were good) in his overreaction to the Catholic Church’s doctrine of works. He taught we are saved by faith alone, popularizing and immortalizing this incomplete understanding of faith by future Christian generations. This false notion that God’s grace does everything, and we do nothing, has resulted in an incomplete gospel which has produced cheap grace, meaning that nothing is required of believers except faith, which has been defined, reduced, and accepted as merely an intellectual belief.
Clearly Luther suffered from what I call, “reactionary theology.“ He was reacting so strongly to avoid one error, “the buy in to the works for one’s salvation system,” that he over corrected and went into error by disregarding works. After centuries of not correcting this error, and elevating Luther, Christendom has suffered from the spiritual DNA of “cheap grace” and, as a result, we have been paralyzed by grace. Two powerful books address this issue: Letters to the American Church, by Eric Metaxas and The Great Omission by Dallas Willard.
“What use is it, my brothers [and sisters,] if someone says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him?”– James 2:14 NASB
James provides a completed understanding of “faith.” Genuine faith is expressed in the demonstration of doing good works that glorify the Lord God and Jesus Christ. Our actions illustrate what we actually believe. Our obedience to His Truth, reveals that we are trusting, adhering to, and abiding in our Lord Jesus Christ. If we do not do good works, we obviously do not have the faith we claim.
The glorious reality is God the Father has provided and prepared for us the works we can and ought to do. We simply need to obey and step out and act according to what is right and true. Ephesians 2:8-10 pretty much encapsulates it all even though verse 10 has been severely neglected in Christendom.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”– Ephesians 2:8-10 ESV.
• Periodically, in following months record your good works.
• I purpose to teach and practice the correct definition of faith. ❑ Once again please check if you are serious about this practice.
• I will make concerted efforts to up-lift the LORD JESUS CHRIST.
As Dallas Willard has said: “We find it hard to see that grace in not opposed to effort, but it is opposed to earning. Earning is an attitude and grace is opposed to that. But it is not opposed to effort.” The Great Omission, page 166.
Concluding Scripture to integrate into our walk with Christ.
“The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. 14 For God will bring every act to judgment [give an accounting], everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.” – Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 NASB
• List five good actions you plan to take throughout 2023.
What Motto will you choose to excel in throughout 2023?
#1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10
Or, perhaps, it’s none of these as you are attempting other biblical pursuits. ❑
It would be fun for you to list them for your own clarification.
Hey, Let’s take demonstrative steps to obey Christ in 2023!