Hi, this is Pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…New Year’s Resolutions
I imagine all of us are guilty. I know I am. I’ll just be transparent with you. In the past, I have proclaimed that I was going to make seemingly necessary changes in my life. I have even attempted to harness the potential power of a “New Year” to fuel my purposeful behavior modifications. Yes, I am afraid it’s true, I am guilty of making New Year’s Resolutions. You might be asking, what’s wrong with resolutions? Aren’t we supposed to be about the business of bettering ourselves? The problem doesn’t necessarily lie with a desire to improve this or that, the difficulty is in the results. I make resolutions…but I am not resolute. I say on January 1st that this year I am going to exercise more…but I know that on December 31st I will not likely be able to claim that I have regularly exercised more this year than I have in years past. If the answer to that problem were to simply stop declaring I am going to make changes, my integrity might remain intact, but I would be seeking peace in lethargy. I am pretty sure that won’t work. I am also pretty certain that particular understanding is what propels me to desire to see more change. It all seems like a such vicious cycle…so what’s the real answer?
In year’s past I have repeated the age old “Dad Joke” that my “New Year’s Resolution this year is to not make any New Year’s Resolutions”. Like most Dad Jokes, all that one lacks is humor. So, since it’s not funny anyway…I’ve decided to take it seriously. This year I am not going to make any “new” New Year’s Resolutions. I am simply going to focus on being faithful to the commitments I have already made. One of my favorite definitions of a faithful person is this. Faithful people continue to do what they have been asked to do, with the same level of enthusiasm they had when first asked, until they are asked to do something else. Faithfulness it seems takes great resolve.
I want to be known as someone who is faithful to what God asks of me. I want to be that guy who is so resolute that I can’t be pulled off task. 1 Corinthians 15:58 in the New Living Translation says; So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. Christ is the Beginning and the End, He wasn’t simply present at the beginning, and will be present at the end, He is the Beginning (time existed in His presence there) and He is the End (time will also exist in His presence there) Christ encompasses all, including time, time does not encompass Him. As my omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent God, I can trust there is nothing He does not know, no place He is not preceding me, and nothing He cannot do (even using me). Because of all of that, and more than I could share with you in the limited time I have here, I can be confident that nothing I ever do for Him will be useless. I may not see the results with my own eyes, I may not experience the results in my lifetime, I may not even get to know what the results were supposed to be. None of that matters, because the results aren’t on me, those are His lane…obedience is mine. The verse I reference a moment ago is clear. My responsibilities are to be strong and immovable, and to work enthusiastically for the Lord. Those are simply obedience moves…the results of my obedience, those are His moves.
But what about the times when my resolution to be faithful are met with adversity? James 1:2-4 answers that question. It says; Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. Apparently, the plan is that we are supposed to let the adversity build more resolve. Because we know ahead of time that adversity will come…and it will…Jesus said so, we can take joy in it because we also know that He intends to use it to produce some awesome results. Jesus wants to take all of the obstacles in our lives and use them to show us that when we see Him bring us through, our faith increases. As our faith and confidence in Him increase, we have far more patience, endurance or resolve that He will always bring us through…no matter what the adversity might be. James goes on to say that as our patience or endurance becomes fully developed, we will have all that we need. Only a good, good God would make sure to use even our negative experiences to bring about positive change in our lives!
But then that’s what He promised He would do right? Romans 8:28-29 say; And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. God is more than happy to take every trouble, difficulty and outright evil that comes against us and use it to make us more like His beloved Son, Jesus. His plan is to accomplish His work in you and you can trust that work is for your best. So resolve to be strong and immovable, be resolute that you will take joy in your adversities, be faithful knowing that God has your back!
So, make your New Year’s Resolutions if you will…I won’t judge you for it. I think this year I’ll pass though…and ask you to give me the same grace. By the power of the Spirit of Grace, let’s resolve together to hold to a commitment already on the books. Let’s all choose to walk in faithfulness before our God. Let’s all be grateful for another year to serve Him. Let’s encourage one another to continue doing the last thing He asked us to do, with the same enthusiasm we had when He first asked, until He asks us to do something else. That way we can all be men and women of outstanding faithfulness.
So now being a faithful child of the King…Go Be Awesome!