How can we approach the New Year with a godly attitude that transforms thinking? If we search the scriptures for God’s will and way, we will become a new person if we follow the examples the Bible offers. The Psalmist David repeatedly asked God to teach him His ways. “Teach me Your way, O Lord And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies. Do not deliver me to the will of my enemies” (Psalm 27:11). God delivered David, but not always by the smooth path, but nonetheless He became king and was not murdered by his enemies.
God showed David to trust Him when being pursued by Saul and his men, not to take revenge when he had the opportunity (David could have killed Saul when they shared the same cave), to follow God’s commands given to them by Moses, to hear from God, to worship and thank Him (we have evidence of these in the Psalms), to confess sin (David finally repented from killing Bathsheba’s husband when confronted by the prophet Nathan) and to rely on God for wisdom as evidenced in his kingdom reign and the promise of the Savior in his lineage line.
But the Old Testament has many more examples of how to live a godly life then just David. Each character, whether good or bad, can teach us something. Abraham teaches us to believe God for the impossible. His wife Sarah had a son at the ripe old age of eighty because God had promised him one. Joseph teaches us to be patient and to watch how God works all things together for our good, according to His purposes (Romans 8:28). Ruth teaches us to follow the one true God even if we are not born into the faith. Ester teaches us to put our lives on the line to save others, and to trust God in impossible circumstances. Daniel teaches us not to worship false idols even in a foreign land and that God will rescue us. Even if we die we are winners in the end for those who call themselves Christians know that this world is not their home, but that we are “strangers in a strange land.” Our final destination is heaven. Rahab the harlot teaches us that even prostitutes, when they follow God and are forgiven, can enter into the Kingdom of God. Isaiah teaches us that the Bible is the inherent word of God and contains many prophecies of the Christ child.
The Old Testament proclaims a clear message from the prophet Micha 6:8. “He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does God require of us, But to do justly, to love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?” Try following just that verse for one month and you will see a change in your line of thinking. Try doing that for a year and you probably will have a transformed mind and way of life. And that’s just one passage in the Old Testament.
In the New Testament more examples abound in the lives of the disciples and other followers, but Jesus is our greatest teacher. He went about healing the sick and afflicted, seeking the good of others, confronting the Pharisees for their hypocrisy, setting free sinners, feeding the poor, loving and forgiving his enemies and redeeming humanity from sin. As followers we are given the Great Commission “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28: 19). Each one of us as the church is to help build the body of Christ in some way, whether big or small. We may not be able to heal the sick, but we can visit them. We cannot forgive people from all their sins, but we can forgive them when they hurt us. It would benefit us greatly to rely on God in order to do the things which are His will. This will lead us into transformation as we learn to trust Him and not do things merely in our own strength.
Another alternative is to focus on one aspect of Jesus’ life for one month or for the year and by the end of 2015, we would be living a transformed life. Or if we were to focus on one example of godly character from the Bible each month in 2015, by the end of the year we would be transformed. Now those are New Year resolutions with eternal impact. Up for the challenge?