Keeping up with the Jones'

Keeping Up with the Jones'

MC Midweek Jan. 25, 2023

by Emily M., Life Group leader

How do you feel about the New Year? Do you make resolutions? Do you subscribe to the "New Year, New You" that we hear a lot of times?
Personally, this exhausts me. It makes me feel like I'm not good enough the way I already am and I feel pressured to make some astronomical goal I know I'll never reach. 
Then I remember that God made me who I am for a reason and in His who am I listening to that I don't feel good enough? The world. 
Ok, so as a nutrition coach, I see a lot of "diets" that people want to try; especially this time of year! And it feels very similar to how the Christian can view their lives - "I must do this exactly this way" or "I can only say these three things when talking to someone" or "I can only pray over my food during the day" or some other variation.
Think about a diet...when we restrict ourselves or put our lifestyle into this little box, how does it tend to go? Not very successfully. And the routine doesn't last very long either...probably like our New Year's resolutions! It's not doable. The structure is too rigid and we leave out too many foods we enjoy.
As Christians, we do need to abide by the Bible and what God has said, but what restrictions (or even add-ons!) are you putting in based on the input from what the world wants or says? What are you avoiding or cutting out so that you can "fit in"?  As we go into this new year, think about the actual definition of a Christian. Are we defining it ourselves? As sinful humans? Or are we living our lives as Christ has defined it?
Acts 11:25-26 (KJV) Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul. And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

Christians teach people about Christ. We plant seeds, we lead people to Him, we save souls by our words and actions and living Christ-like. HIS standards, not ours. Not the world's definition.
There's nothing in that verse about the need to be perfect or have a particular background or a certain knowledge base to make you a "professional" teacher of Christians.
So in times such as this - where the world is loud and opinionated, and the new year says we have to "make certain goals to be better" -- remember Christ is already in us making us exactly who we need to be. And as long as our big, main goal is focused on Him, there's no need to fret about keeping up with the Jones'. We're already who we are supposed to be, in the place and time that we're supposed to be, continuing to be a Light to those who need it.