Monday, January 02, 2012

Another Resolution?

New Year's Resolutions often revolve around things in our lives that we want to change - dieting to lose weight, exercising to become healthier, finding or improving friendships or romance to avoid loneliness, and prosperity.  It is interesting to note that only 8-10 out of 100 people actually keep their resolutions for the entire year.  I have seen evidence of this while exercising at the local recreation center - the pool and weight room are packed for the first 4-8 weeks of the year, taken over by "resolutionists" but then things get back to "normal" as they lose their motivation to complete their resolution.

A fresh start for a new year?  For many years I have not made resolutions, as I often find that when I try to change something about myself I fail.  Don't you?  Soon the level of commitment required to make a change on our own takes too much energy to fulfill and we go back to the thing we are trying to evade.  I am so thankful that the Bible offers something far greater - a new life, in Jesus Christ, that is obtained once and for all by faith because of the forgiveness of sins that we can have only in Him.  

Remember, when God created the world, "it was good."  After that seventh day, man started to muck it up, and we have been ever since Adam and Eve thought it would be ok to ignore God's plan for their lives and take to their own choices.  This new life is eternal, and happens when God causes a transformation for all who believe in Jesus Christ and what He did on the cross.  We are not held hostage by our sins, even though we must still make a choice to yield control of our life over to the Creator and allow the Holy Spirit to take hold of our thoughts and actions.  

Believers in the New Testament are called to be new creatures - not "remodeled" but altogether new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV) "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."  It should be no surprise that the most of the books in this section of the Bible follow a similar theme (which was carried over from the Old Testament): believers in towns fall away from God and His teachings and a letter is written to them, often pointing out their failed attempts to live according to their own ways and lovingly guiding them back to the Truth.

In Paul's first letter to the folks at Thessalonica calls on them to increase in their faith by loving and serving others, as well as going to the Lord in prayer.  J. Venon McGee notes that Paul offers 19 tips to live a life that is pleasing to God, and the points are easily applicable to us today just like they were almost 2000 years ago.  See if you can find all of them:
1 Thessalonians 5:11-22 (KJV)
5:11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;
13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves.
14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.
15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.
16 Rejoice evermore.
17 Pray without ceasing.
18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
19 Quench not the Spirit.
20 Despise not prophesyings.
21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. 

How are you doing with applying these to your life?  If they were not against our human nature, it won't be tough to patient to all men or hold fast that which is good.  See, when we try to do things our way, we go right back to desiring to control our life, and that will eventually end up in us being disobedient to God.  My way is not His, so my way way is not good.  Thank God we can find rest in Jesus Christ and the forgiveness of all the baggage in our life.  Our relationship with God is only fixed when we trust in His Son, and then we can find that with Him working through us, those points above in Paul's letter can be put into practice.

"A New Year's resolution is something that goes in one Year and out another."  Found that anonymous quote while looking through the web, and it is so true!  We need to give our will and choices over to God so that we can be the people that He created us to be, as individuals and as larger communities.  God's promise of salvation does not change, and He is waiting for you to come to Him.  You see, we can do something that He can't: sin. Titus 1:2 (KJV) "In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began."  He does not lie, ever.

I won't worry about a resolution that will fade away just like our good intentions.  Only God can cause the changes in our lives that will mold us into the people that He can use to complete the plans that He has for each of us.  Resolve this year for the revelation of God in your life, and know that you can trust Him to keep His promises.

Don't Be Like Mike

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Thankful that God has granted me a second chance (quite a few, actually) through my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I love the Lord, my family, and enjoy endless laps of swimming and circles on a motorcycle. Follow Jesus.