Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Missing Resolve?

The holidays are fast wrapping up and it is at this time of year, while reveling in the litter of prior annum's carcass, that many attempt to clarify new directions and choices for the coming one. We politely call them resolutions and listen to them almost tongue-in-cheek.

It seems that as a Body we are struggling to be resolute about anything these days.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
-- 1 Peter 5:6-10

I'm sure you've heard someone talk about their resolutions this year, and then almost immediately speak about which ones they'll break first. Which of these serious intentions they'll let fall to the wayside . You might even be one of those people who writes a list and files it away in a drawer. Not that there is anything wrong with writing down your intentions and declaring your choices.

Like most things, the basic idea sounds attractive and helpful. What could be wrong with trying to make improvements? Surely nothing. But like all good deviations it isn't the core that leads you astray it’s the pretty paper it's wrapped with.

Discipline, servanthood ,and faithfulness are not choices to be listed out and checked once a year. Change doesn't happen in that gloriously reflective mood so easily induced by turkey dinners, catching up with family over football, or after a midnight champagne toast. Real change is incremental. It is practical and hurts. It usually makes you feel worse before it makes you feel better. Think of it like exercise, or a savings account, or a 14-hour flight to Australia.
For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. -- 1 Corinthians 2:2

Don't get me wrong, I applaud taking time to reflect. Self-assessment and personal growth planning is very important and necessary. But the convenient timelines are too often a slippery slope. They allow us to start our mindset off on the wrong foot. The clock isn't reset every YEAR, it resets every WEEK, every DAY, every HOUR…you get the picture. When we focus only on the big decisions, we ignore the little ones that truly define our character and being. We give ourselves a built-in escape route. After all, no one ever keeps all their New Years resolutions, do they?

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