WORDS BY EMILY CRISMAN | IMAGES BY BETHANY STUMPF
Every spring, people have their annual cleaning day or week where they purge their basement of all unnecessary items and cleanse every forgotten corner of their home. Every New Year we make resolutions to better ourselves in any capacity, whether it be health, finances, or relationship statuses. In this time of self-reflection and goal setting, we can often be focused on things of the material world, and let the most important goals as Christ followers fade into the background. Cleansing our minds of unrighteousness and cultivating our hearts for growth should be what our yearly goals revolve around.
Looking behind in 2015, I know all to well the thorns that pierced me; anxiety and self-doubt clouded my judgment countless times, and my lack of trust in our God left me broken from trying to do things myself. What struggles and sins grasped a foothold on you in 2015? 2 Corinthians says “Now the Lord is the Sprit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect, The Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
This year and everyday we can hold onto God’s promises in the New Covenant, and Jesus’ death on the cross that we have freedom from the sins that haunt our daily lives. We can put the past behind, and seek a fresh start, and accept the clean slate given to us.
With that clean slate, we can begin cultivating a heart for growth and allowing the Holy Spirit to transform our minds. You see this call to transformation in Romans 12:2 “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is- His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Often times, I do not take an active role in my sanctification or transformation. I simply sit back and ask God to transform me without even moving a muscle. God does call us to pray, but he also calls us to take action. Knowing what God’s word says can help us combat our deepest, strongest struggles. When anxiety overwhelms my mind I can resist by knowing Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Or when I lack faith I can reflect upon Psalm 46. “God is our refuge and strength, an every –present help in trouble therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”
Knowing God’s word and allowing it to infiltrate into every part of our hearts and minds can transform our responses to temptations in this coming year. Yes, I want to work out four times a week, and tidy my house for fifteen minutes every night before bed, but more importantly I want to pick up my cross daily and advance the kingdom of God. Let us bask in the goodness of the gospel, accept our clean slate and continue to cultivate a heart and mind for growth by knowing and applying the word of the Lord. Cheers to 2016 and Spring Cleaning.