New Year’s resolutions anyone?
Thanks, but no thanks.
I’m certain there are many people who make very practical and necessary corrections in their lives because of some helpful first-of-the-year adjustments that they somehow are magically empowered to follow through with. Some people would call this ‘will power.’ Whatever it is, it seriously feels as far from me as “magical empowerment.”
I have never met a New Year’s resolution that I could keep for more than a month or so and I would be lucky in most cases if they lasted that long. So I decided to quit making promises that I couldn’t (wouldn’t) keep.
Instead, I came up with a simple principle to live by that would flow more out of who I am than to merely set up a list of rules that I really didn’t want to live into very deeply.
Here’s what I came up with a few years ago that seemed to be simple enough for me to easily remember and yet profound enough to guide my life . . . not for just a couple of weeks or even for an entire year but ultimately for an entire lifetime.
Ready? Here it is:
“Stay close to Jesus. Do what He says.”
In case you were searching around for some kind of New Year’s resolution, I offer it to you . . . but I caution you at the same time, that while simplistic in length and structure, it is infinitely deep and will challenge you most days.
We will unpack it in the weeks ahead but this simple advice flows from the reality that my spiritual search has always been for transformation – in my own life primarily and in the lives of those to whom I counsel and minister. I have always been profoundly challenged by the Apostle Paul when he stated, "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NAS)
Add to that Romans 8:29 where we are told that we have been, “predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son . . .” In other words, when Jesus comes into our life, things should begin to change that will enable us to become more like Jesus. I am challenged by that concept as it pertains to how we change, why we change, and why change is so difficult at times. I still question why have some things in my life changed so completely and some others things almost not at all?
Moving forward into the year I would love to explore more of this concept of transformation, but for now let’s set the framework with a couple of questions. How you answer these might give you some clues as to where you might set your priorities if you are looking for quality, life changing resolutions.
So, as a place to begin, Paul challenges us to"Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!” (2 Cor 13:5a)
Here are a few questions to consider. Journaling your responses might help you think through them:
What exactly does it mean to you to be a Christian?
In the last year have you grown in your love for God? If so, how so?
Where has change been evident? Where are the places that have remained unchanged?
Are there things you do regularly to help promote change? Like what?
We’ll meet again soon to begin our journey – Happy New Year!
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