It is the time of year when lots of people make all kinds of new resolutions. And while I certainly don't have a problem with this practice in general, I don't really buy into the whole idea of "New Year Resolutions". I mean, I'm all about making life changes. I think it's critical that we all continue to learn and grow and find ways to improve, but I think this is something that happens as part of an ongoing lifestyle of learning and growing--not so much something you just flip a switch for on January 1st and expect everything to fall perfectly in line. This is part of the reason I think so many people make the same resolutions every single year because they usually abandon them by February. Most of the resolutions I've seen people try to keep require long-term discipline rather than quick "cold turkey" decisions. Certainly strong willpower could overcome this issue, but there is a bigger problem than even this I think. It's about motivation. I am of the opinion that it is pretty much exhausting to worship at the idol of "self." Seems like a contradiction since that behavior results in investing primarily in oneself. But the problem is that human beings just weren't designed to be satisfied with the things of this world. So it's never enough. Ever. No matter how much a person acquires or improves or learns, etc., none of those things are ever ultimately fulfilling.
SO--I'm thinking-- Again, I sure don't think there's anything wrong with making decisions to do some things differently in the New Year. But I wonder if we need to adjust our motivation for doing so. I think we fail because we are not focused on the right motivation OR the right end result. For example:
Rather than deciding to be more frugal in order to HAVE more for ourselves, suppose we desire to be more frugal so that we can GIVE more.
Rather than deciding to get in shape so that we can look better in fitted clothing for people who shouldn't be interested in the shape of our bodies anyway, suppose we desire to get in shape so that we can be healthier and have more energy to serve more effectively.
Rather than deciding to prepare more meals at home in order to save money to spend on ourselves, suppose we desire to prepare more meals at home so that we can help our spouses and children be stronger and healthier through the nutritious meals we provide for them.
Rather than deciding to read the Bible more so that we can check it off our list as something to be proud of and make sure everyone knows we did, suppose we desire to read the Bible more just so that we can know Christ and the Gospel better.
Things like that.
Just some thoughts. Because I have to believe that all of these things would be exponentially more fulfilling (and therefore much more long-term) if our motivation is right.
Whatever idols we pour our lives into can never fill us back up.
But OH how the Gospel sure can.
Happy New Year, Everybody!
You are right on! It's all about the heart behind the behavior. You basically wrote in blog form what we heard at church on Sunday. We don't want to try to be some better version of ourselves! Impossible and futile. We want to be gospel-oriented and gospel-motivated so we can think well, decide well, love well, serve well, and suffer well, etc. Good thoughts, dear one! I continue to mull them over along with the sermon. Blessings!
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