To finish this week of posts I want to re-visit one I wrote two years ago and develop it slightly.
Resolved: To make no New Year’s Resolutions for me to do, but to cling to the One who is at work in and through me according to His perfect plans for 2015.
A while back I really enjoyed reading the masterful biography of Jonathan Edwards by George Marsden. It is fascinating to see the early resolutions of Edwards give way to a mature spirituality that was delighted in and by Christ later in his life.
Let’s face it, there are so many good resolutions that we could make as we head into another New Year. Bible reading commitments, wider reading plans, personal prayer schedules, pursuit of ministry training ideas, grow theologically intentions, find a mentor strategies, evaluation and feedback gathering plans, sermonic self-improvement schemes, pastoral ministry visitation goals, personal fitness/diet/exercise/rest regimes, family scheduling tactics, and on the list goes.
All of these would be good ideas. But making these determined and resolute teeth-clenched-and-muscles-flexed kind of personal commitments may well not be the best way to go. That is, if we aren’t the autonomous self-made individualists that our culture and our fallen world like to convince us that we are.
Our life and ministry is much more about response to God’s Spirit at work in our lives than it is about our responsibility to act like the god of our own lives. We are not the captain of our own destiny. We are not sheriff of Me-ville. We are lovers defined by who and what we love. And as those who know and love the Triune God, we are in the best possible place to face a new year of uncertainties, trials, complexities and challenges.
My loving response to God’s love for me will result in some determined lifestyle choices and evidences of personal discipline. This will also be true in my married life too – my loving response to my wife will look disciplined and diligent. But I won’t talk about it in those terms. At one level there is no real sacrifice involved in responding to the God we have. Yes, it may look costly at times, but from the perspective of a captured heart?
As we head into 2015, let’s hold all our resolutions with a very loose grip, but squeeze tightly on the hand of Him who holds us, our families, our ministries and our year ahead in the palm of His hand.
Can we even begin to imagine what our Lord might do in us and through us in 2015? Exceedingly, abundantly beyond all that we ask or even imagine . . . and certainly more than we can achieve by our own self-determined productivity and improvement plans!