Sunday, December 29, 2013

Lord Willin' - even if the creek SHOULD rise, a Biblical caveat to new year's resolutions

It's that time of year, the beginning of a new year, the end of the old.  I'm really feeling the breath of fresh air that comes with new possibilities.  Something about the marking off of the end of a calendar year makes us feel like we're able to wipe the slate clean and start over.

As i listen to the Texans attempt to miraculously not lose their last game of the season, attempt to not lose their 13th game in a row, i imagine that everyone in the Texans organization has some serious ideas about what the new year needs to offer to them.  Well, we all do.

The end of the year brings to mind failures to correct, goals to abandon, successes to build upon, and new ideas to embrace.  As a Christian, i appreciate the new year as a reminder that Jesus makes all things new, not just on January first, but "His mercies are new every morning."  And reviewing ourselves and our progress and our goals is always a good idea.  But i'd like to point out a Biblical perspective on new year's resolutions.

In James chapter 4, we are given some good advice.  The first is in verse 10:  "Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you."  then verses 13-15:

 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” But as it is, you boast in your arrogance...

If my adult life should have taught me anything, it is that my circumstances are unpredictable.  Unpredictable by me, at least.   But God is Faithful.  And even though it is a great goal to lose twenty pounds, or to run a marathon, or to finally clean out the attic and donate all that clutter, the realization of those goals is only truly beneficial when they line up with the goals that God has for our lives.  I think that His goals for me probably read a little differently than mine-- He may want me to learn to trust Him more, or to grow in character and integrity and determination, or to simply learn to slow down and spend time in His presence, or to learn to forgive those who have hurt me.

James didn't even take for granted that it was necessarily the will of God that he would be alive to accomplish these earthly goals and ambitions.  He said, "If the Lord wills, we will live......."  Have  you thought about that?  We tend to think that the scriptures that tell us that God wants all good things for us, yield the given conclusion that earthly life is involved.  But God sees infinitely more than we do.  And that is why when we make our goals for the new year, or the new month, or the new week, or the new day, it is important to acknowledge with our will that His will comes first, because He knows better, and He wants the very best, which we sometimes cannot even imagine.  It's about surrender to the all-loving, all-knowing, relentlessly kind and faithful God.

Maybe that's the best new year's resolution:  if i can say, "by the grace of God, and with His help, i will acknowledge and seek His will and heart in all of my plans."

And when i do know by faith the will of God for my plans, i will trust Him to accomplish them, whether or not the creek should rise, so to speak.  I will trust Him, in spite of what i see in my circumstances.  I will acknowledge that i cannot control the world around me, but He can cause me to rise above it, when i humble myself in His presence.

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By the way, i have made some improvements to this blog, including adding a Facebook page, HERE.  So, if you would like, you can click on the big "HERE" in red and "like" Humble Ambitions on Facebook.  If you do that then you may get to see some encouraging words, besides official blog posts, and wannabefarm updates on your Facebook page, iff you're into that sort of thing.  That is, of course, if the Lord wills.  And i think He might. 

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