Like many parents my post Christmas plans included putting together Christmas gifts. Since summer, Bryce has been begging for a mini-motorcycle/dirt bike, and after my initial “child please” reaction …. I caved. Bryce was ecstatic and excited to receive the gift, and just as eager to put it together so that he could ride it. In his haste and enthusiasm to get on his bike, Bryce decided that he would help put it together and begin without me. He looked at the first thing that he thought made sense and began snapping, connecting and putting things together. I finally got to the bike, read the instructions, and realized we had a major problem. The work Bryce had done to put the bike together had actually kept us from putting the bike together. We were at an impasse. It was not because we lacked the desire to have a complete bike. It was not because we were unwilling to do the work of putting the bike together. It was not because we were without the tools to put the bike together. We were unable to complete the bike because we started putting it together at the wrong place. Eventually, we had to undo what Bryce had done and begin at step 1, where the instructions told us to begin.

Each New Year many of us make goals, resolutions, commitments and promises in an attempt to put our lives back together, fix our lives, and/or make our lives complete. Nevertheless, if you are anything like me you often find yourself eventually frustrated, exhausted, and or unhappy with the results. Some of us feel like we are stuck and at an improvement impasse, unable to move any higher, further, or to any place in life that is better. This year, I want to suggest that some of our inabilities to reach our goals, fulfill our dreams, or carry our ambitions, are not because of lack of desire. It is not because we are unwilling to put in the work. It is not because we do not have the tools that we need to be our best and perform at our most optimal. It simply may be because we are starting in the wrong place.

This year, I want to encourage you to start with your SPIRIT! I am convinced that spiritual health, spiritual discipline, and spiritual work is the foundation for each and every other part of our lives, goals and ambitions coming together. The Apostle Paul is attributed to have written to a young, up and coming, Timothy and he writes to him and gives him these words of advice: “Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you.” I believe this is so relevant to those of us who have determined that 2016 will be better than 2015. More importantly, to those of us who have decided that we will better in 2016 than we were in 2015, I believe our best chance is to begin with our spiritual growth. So, as you commit to eating better, improving your finances, starting your business, going back to school, bettering your relationship, making a bigger impact, cooking more, or spending less money; all of these will be more achievable if you can become a stronger spiritual being. Your life can be fixed, your situation can improve, and you can be complete, but you have to start at the right place.

Humbly in Christ’s Love,

Pastor B.A. Jackson