No Resolutions, Save One
You hear them all around. New Year's resolutions. Weight loss. Exercise. More books to be read. A course for self-improvement. More phone calls to that lonely relative. A definite prayer time and prayer "closet" for each day.
We know that the resolution will flicker and fade around the second week in February. Life presses in. The agenda quickens the pace. Expectations from other people call for flexibility. Bodily fatigue plays its part.
But try this one, and this one alone: "I resolve to get closer to Jesus, and to improve upon the ways that I know to do this." I remind myself that without Him I can do nothing. (John 15:5) That if I seek Him with all my heart, He will be found (Jeremiah 29:13,14), and found in new ways (Isaiah 43: 19-21). That if I keep on knocking the door will be opened (Luke 11:9).
In this there is light, comfort, confidence and vitality. Consider the energy and potential of that wandering rabbi, Jesus, as recorded in Luke chapters 7 and 8. Lord, that I might have some of your vigour and spontaneity. May people see that I have been with Jesus. May they be curious, convicted, comforted and drawn. Not by my words or congeniality, but by an undeniable sense that I have "touched" You.
The Gospel says that "as many as touched him were made whole." The old song says "touching Jesus is all that really matters." This community of ours is a very organic and tactile thing.
The original twelve had vital contact with Jesus. They traveled with Him, ate with Him, hoped with Him, experienced success and failure and slander with Him, studied at His feet, stumbled and were forgiven by Him. This touching of the Master spread from Jerusalem, in ever widening circles, as His life begat a growing Body and Church. Not an ethic, or code, or coming of age by ordeal...but Life, and that more abundantly. Imparted not imitated.
This involves paying attention to the Gospels, prayer, meditation and exchange among brethren as never before. It is all to become more sensitive to the "finger of God" which cautions, directs, emphasizes, enlightens, stops and empowers.
We all recognize that many hurting people have come into the faith. Indeed the child-like and beggarly attitudes bear most fruit and are less contaminated with pride or self-confidence. I love what First Corinthians 1: 26-30 says. But years into the process, as our colleagues of a more worldly bent manifest their success, we continue to render a modest or less than satisfactory showing. We find ourselves saying, "Well, at least I have a view of the Heavenly City. I have a fix on eternal life. I know the real news of the hour."
This too is pride, of an inverse sort. On many occasions in this blog I have blabbed on with such a presumptuous spirit. God has been dealing here with me specifically. At one time in the past words came out of my spirit to the following effect:
"Until I can make a prayer out of you, Doug, you will amount to little in the Kingdom."
I am encouraged by the fact that He used the word "until..."
Friends, may some of you see cause to join me this year in this one resolution.