I am nearing the end of another year - as we all are, I do realize this much - and it seems that Americans especially spend a lot of time resolving to do an awful lot the closer January 1 of any year approaches. It would be nice to observe this phenomena noting just how altruistic we live our lives but the reality is, resolutions are probably one of the more self-centered functions of the human life. For while we try to wrap up self-centeredness in different wrapping, the fact of the matter is, we spend a lot of time on ourselves. (Says the blogger who writes what's on her mind as if someone else would want to know...yeah, I know...I'm working on it...) And so, in this time of resolving, some observations and suggestions for those just insisting that resolutions be part of their week.
RATHER THAN resolving to read the Bible more, focus instead on living each day to His glory. If this is our focus, utilizing the ultimate guide book on such matters will be a natural part of our lives. Reading the Bible through in a year, while applaudable, is something that must be done with great caution lest it become like some athletic challenge rather than a true time of devotion, reflection, & application.
RATHER THAN resolving to lose weight and wrapping it in the paper of "it's for my health", focus instead on the people who love you most and, more importantly, the word of God. If we all lived truly embracing the idea that our bodies are temples, the obesity epidemic would be non-existent. And if we truly loved those who love us as completely as possible, we would also not allow ourselves to get to the point of needing to resolve this each and every year. We would maintain our health NOT to relish a smaller size...NOT to spend more time on ourselves....NOT to look like we did (or better) in high school....we would maintain our health because it's the very least we can do for those who love us.
RATHER THAN resolving to save more and spend less, simply examine the past year with the eye of your parent or grandparent or even better, your Savior. Did you spend what He gave you in a way that would make Him proud of you - your ultimate Father - your Abba, Father....was He standing next to you when you purchased the $400 pair of shoes, another pack of cigarettes, a new car, the tattoo, yet another upgrade to your child's arsenal of video game systems?
I don't believe resolutions are inherently bad. I don't believe wanting to read the Bible more, lose more weight, or buying a pair of expensive shoes is inherently bad either. I DO believe that we fallen humans don't need any help at all in focusing on ourselves. In the past year I've noticed that in my own life, the very things which perhaps I would normally resolve to eliminate or change have actually kept my feet from straying. We MUST believe that He will avert all evil or turn it to our profit. And while Paul asked to have his own thorn removed several times, the Lord knew that on Paul's earthly path having that thorn was for his own good.
Too often what we seek to eliminate is the very thing that is keeping us (insert the word).....could it be "humble".....could it be "grounded"....could it be "devout"...... Not having a lot of money may be keeping you from being tempted by the 'sights that dazzle'....having a few extra pounds may be keeping you from the sin of pride and arrogance.....the job that stinks may be your mission field.
Perhaps, then, the only real thing we as Christians need to resolve is to have our eyes open to His will, our hearts prepared to accept that will, and our courage girded up enough to live within His will minus the grumbling, complaining, and constant urge to "improve" upon what He has given (or not given).
Happy 2010....may you find yourself living even more in the hollow of His hand than you ever knew possible.