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Monday, 31 December 2012

Resolutions!

Only twice in my lifetime have I managed to keep a New Year Resolution for more than a few weeks. On one of those occasions, I managed to keep my garage tidy for a little more than four months.  The second resolution was made many years ago - and I am still keeping it!  I resolved never to make any more New Year Resolutions!

Having said that, there are certain things that, for the disciple of Jesus, should surely be daily resolutions.  These resolutions ought to be easier to keep, because we have the promised help of God the Holy Spirit to assist us.  So what kind of resolutions might be in order?

Perhaps the first would be to spend more time, alone, with the Lord.  It's what we used to call our "Quiet Time", although nowadays, I talk more about my "Private Devotions".  Whatever the name given, it involves taking time to draw aside from the busy-ness of modern life, and spend it in reading God's written Word, the Bible; and in coming before Him in prayer.  How long should one spend?  That is between the believer and the Lord.  However, I know that I spend a lot longer nowadays than I did when I was younger.  Some, of course, would claim that they simply don't have the time to pray.  I would respond with the story of the man who said that he prayed for two hours every morning - unless he knew that he was going to have a particularly busy day.  In that case, he prayed for three hours!  Of course, spiritual exercises are like physical exercises.  If I have never run any appreciable distance before, I don't start by running a marathon!  I run as far as I can - but I keep increasing the distance.

The second resolution would be to develop a passion for holiness.  This is a word (there's a whole chapter on it in my book: Great Words of the Christian Faith - see post on Sept 20th) that basically means "separate".  In other words, as a disciple of Jesus, I am expected to be different!  My over-riding concern will be to please Him.  I'll ask Him about going to certain places; watching certain programmes/films; consuming certain items.  I won't always get it right.  As a sinful human being (albeit one who has been saved by the grace of God) I will fall.  But if I allow Him to, He will keep working in me, and on me, as He makes me more like Himself.  It's a process called sanctification (and there's a full chapter, in the book, on that, as well!).  Not every believer is called to be an evangelist.  However, whether we like it, or not, each of us is a witness!  The only question is - "Am I a good witness; or a bad one?!"

Just one more possible resolution - and that would be to be more faithful in my giving.  If I have handed my life over to the Lord; if I have accepted His Lordship in my life; if I am seeking to live in submission to Him; then that includes my finances.  The Biblical pattern is, as far as I can make out, of a tithe (10%) plus a love-gift (that is between me and the Lord).  As with the time spent in prayer and Bible reading (that will progress to Bible study!) there are those who will claim that this is impossible.  However, I think it was Billy Graham who once made the point that 90% (or less!) with God's blessing goes further than 100% without it.  I can certainly testify to the truth of that from my own experience!

Just three resolutions!  However, if everyone who claims to be a disciple of Jesus were to make, and keep, them, what a difference it would make in their own lives - and in the lives of so many others.

A blesséd, peaceful, and God-honouring New Year to each and all.

1 comment:

Colin said...

"....... I resolved never to make any more New Year Resolutions!..." YOU TOO? We ARE more alike than we realise