It’s a new year. Again. I get tired just thinking about it.
Of course everyone has made their resolutions and grand proclamations about how things will be different, better, healthier this year. It really is a time I don’t look forward to. Last week I mumbled something to myself (because if I said it out loud to others, I would actually be shamed into doing it) about not eating bread anymore. Within a day I had broken that dumb resolution.
Sigh. It’s just so hard.
The new year should cause us to look back and learn from mistakes or victories. We should see a gradual but steady movement forward in our sanctification. Our minds should be more and more like Christ. That naturally brings about changes one might dare to call “resolutions.”
Instead of saying, I want to stop eating bread because it makes me fat and when I’m fat I’m mean and unhappy with myself, it might look more like this:
I want to stop eating bread in an out-of-control way because it doesn’t reflect Christ at work in my heart.
If it is just about not getting fat or being mean, then it is just about US. My friend likes to quote Dr. Phil (complete with his southern drawl) and say, “It’s not about youuuuuuu!” And it really shouldn’t be.
All our “resolutions” mean nothing if not centered on the finished work of Christ. The things we long to stop doing or start doing are just reflections of our brokenness and our heart’s recognition that something is very wrong with the object of our affection. That object is almost always self.
These “resolutions” I make are just ways to make MYSELF feel better about MYSELF so that everyone else can see how wonderful I am.
This year let our resolutions be different. Let them be radical, because they won’t be about us!
- Resolve to see the amazing things Christ is doing in your heart, in your church, and around the world. This might include asking people who come into your path daily how they are doing, how you can pray for them. Or maybe you could pray through the bulletin of your church and thank God for each prayer request, birth announcement, or Bible study. Read up on worldwide missions and pray for ministries God places on your heart. The world is huge, and God is doing amazing things in every country.
- Resolve to be intentional about building community in your family, your relationships, and even your neighborhood. I have friends who open their houses and kitchens every Saturday and make waffles for their neighbors. Their only aim is to build relationships and community through action that might lead to Jesus. Join or host a community group at your church. Don’t be a consumer!
- Resolve to be used wholeheartedly in any way Jesus asks of you. Maybe this year Jesus will ask you to do something uncomfortable. Our comfort zones are simply traps for us that breed complacency in our lives. Bravely resolve to do whatever is asked of you and trust that your faith will grow.
- Resolve to glorify God in every aspect of your life including: eating, spending, talking, and recreating. Stop using your time, talents, and treasures on yourself! Eat without idolizing, spend without greed, speak without malice. None of these are possible without the triune God working in, around, and through us.
On New Years day 2014 I want to look back and see how good, radical, and amazing Christ has always been. Year by year, generation to generation.
Happy New Year from Uganda!