New Year’s resolutions. People love them, people hate them. People rarely manage to keep them. But we sure do try, don’t we?
I’ve recently been encouraged to try a different type of New Year’s resolution. Call it a New Month Resolution or a 12-Part Resolution if you like. Instead of one or two big resolutions to keep all year, I’ve chosen one new skill or habit to cultivate each day for a designated month, hopefully resulting in 12 months’ worth of Resolution Success!
One month I’ll go vegetarian. One month I’ll play the guitar every day. One month I’m going to learn origami. One month I’ll learn to draw. It should be an interesting year!
For my January resolution, I’ve committed to read my Bible and pray every day. Very holy, I know. I mean, it’s something I should be doing every single day anyway, and to be honest I’m kind of cheating because I was already doing it a few times a week.
But I’ve got to tell you, something changed in my relationship with Jesus when I started setting aside time every single day for him rather than just spending time with him when I had a moment or when I felt like it. Something changed when I started rearranging my schedule to be with him. And after only having done it for 23 days I’m more convinced than ever that “should” isn’t exactly the attitude that God wants me to take toward living out my relationship with him. My fulfilling my duty doesn’t exactly warm the cockles of God’s heart. He doesn’t get warm fuzzies when I tick “read the Bible” off my to do list.
We should be doing lots of things. We should be helping the poor. We should be serving in our local church. We should be praying that people who don’t know Christ would encounter him in some way.
Frankly, we can go right through life doing the things we should be doing, and that’ll be just fine. But a relationship with God can be so much more than shoulds, so much more than resolutions.
Psalm 27:4 says, “One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.” He calls us to discipline and duty, yes, but if we let him, he will also woo us into the sort of relationship that compels us “to gaze upon his beauty” and “seek him in his temple.”
Do you know what will happen if we let him arouse our passions like that? We’ll end up not just giving, but choosing to give sacrificially; we’ll end up seeing miraculous answers to our prayers for the lost; we’ll find ourselves longing to serve not just the local church but the global church. We will find that we’ve crossed over from duty into delight, and that we have become his hands and feet in the world.
So let me challenge you (and me!) for 2020: don’t resolve to read your Bible more, pray more, go to church more, give to worthy causes or become a missionary. Instead, resolve to know God. Seek him in his temple. Gaze on his beauty. Let your duty be transformed into delight. He will take care of the rest.
As for my January resolution, 31 days is not enough. I think I’ll keep going. How could I not?