So 2017 is here (technically this is New Year’s Eve but since I plan to be sleeping when the new year begins I figured I’d post this now) and time to roll out the New Year’s Resolutions stuff.
Resolutions – you know, those things we resolve to accomplish to do in the new year but never seem to do? Yeah, it is THAT time again. I’ve never been one to make a resolution at the new year. I may have done it a time or two but I never really meant it. But this year is different for me. I am going to make one resolution that I hope to keep throughout the year. I intend and will do my best to keep this resolution in the coming years.
My resolution is not about weight loss, though I certainly be a pound or ten lighter. My resolution has nothing to do with saving money. In some ways my resolution may cause me to save less money. It doesn’t concern being kinder, gentler, or easing back on my conservative views. It isn’t about finally getting my book published or being a Pastor again. It has to do with something much more important than those temporal things. My resolution has eternal implications and eternal consequences.
So what is my resolution? Before I get to it, a particular passage of Scripture comes to mind:
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2 NASB
I resolve, beginning this year and continuing through the rest of my life to continually place myself on the altar for God to use as he sees fit. I will place all of me at His disposal.
But what does this mean?
Simply put, being a living sacrifice means that I sacrifice all in service to my King and God. But what is all? Well, it is everything. This includes my desires, the money I earn, the life I lead, the aspirations I have. It means every nook and cranny of my life is places on the altar as a living sacrifice.
The practical implications of this are numerous.
One thing that must occur as I do this is that I must dismiss my plans. That does not mean that I simply wander through life without a plan. It doesn’t mean that I wait for God to miracle a direction for my life. It does mean that the ideas I have for my life come under the headship of Christ. I resolve no longer to ask God to bless my plans, I resolve to ask God to bless me with His plan for my life. So though I have one seemingly simply resolution of for this new year and for years to come, there are actually other resolutions that are contained within the simply one above.
As a part of my main resolution,
I resolve to place my desires and aspirations on the altar as a living sacrifice. This does not mean I do not have desires and aspirations. I certainly have them. For instance, I finally have the desire to pastor a church again. I desire to preach much more than the once a year I currently preach. I want to teach more. I want to disciple more. But those desires must be on the altar if I am to do things God’s way. I resolve to continue to prepare to be a pastor – with all that entails – as I wait on God to open a door somewhere to be that Pastor again. I may never be a pastor again. With that desire on the altar means that I’m OK with that outcome. And I am OK;
I resolve to reorder my life to study God’s word deeper and in a more meaningful way. I resolve to share the knowledge God has blessed me with. Anyone who desires to learn what I know is welcome to that knowledge;
I resolve to place my family, my church life, and my work life on the altar as a living sacrifice. Finding balance between many competing interests is difficult if not impossible. This is especially true for those of us with a large family. The demands of being the sole wage earner in a home to 10 folks is daunting even on a good day. Things are expensive these days. With 8 kids, a wife, two guinea pigs, two parakeets, two cats, a dog and many hens and many ducks puts a strain on the family budget;
I resolve to be spent by the time my body dies. I will not hold back but I will not simply do something for the sake of doing it. My activity shall be God-directed, not me directed. To be spent means I shall do all that God calls me to do. I shan’t do things in my own power. I shall do things under the direction and power of the Holy Spirit.
My life is not my own. I’ve known that for quite a while. Now I will continue to live like that. Everything I am, I hope to be, or hope to do is part of being a living sacrifice to God. It is part of renewing my mind. It is about living life in a God-honoring way. It is living a Christ-centered life rather than a self-centered life.
This is my resolution not just for this year, but for all years to follow.
So, help me God. I’m going to need Your help.