Monday, January 4, 2016
Resolutions....do you make 'em?
Ahhhh, it's that time again.
No, not time to make the donuts. (Grin) If you are as old as I, you giggled at that commercial the very first time it actually aired.
It's time to make the resolutions.
In the dictionary, resolution is defined as "a course of action decided upon; a fixed purpose."
We resolve; we are determined to do things differently.
How about you? Are you going to eat healthier foods? Exercise more?
Are you going to be a better person? Drop an old habit and substitute a new (better) one?
Do you make resolutions at all?
Do you shy away from it because of past failures?
If we are interested in making and keeping some resolutions this year, we can find some clues on being successful . . . in Paul's letter to the Philippians. Check this out:
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at
my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus
took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet
to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind
and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to
win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ
Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14)
Alright, there is some preliminary work that we must do here.
"Forgetting what is behind."
Paul is talking about forgetting in a positive way -- forgetting in such a way that the past, whether it is good or bad, will have no negative impact on our present spiritual growth.
You see, we must forget the wrongs that can paralyze us with guilt, and burden us with despair. There are things in our pasts, all of us, that can absolutely bog us down so that we cannot move. He is telling us that these are things we must not allow to stop us now. Did he (Paul) know what he was talking about? Oh boy, did he ever! He was the A number 1, "head honcho" persecutor of the church; he had a lot that he needed to leave behind him.
Paul is also warning us to forget the things that we have attained, that might cause us to shift into neutral gear, to "tread water" so to speak.
He didn't want to spend a lot of time thinking about how far he had come. And we would do well to avoid that, too. If we dwell on where we were, and how far we have come along, we might actually fall into the trap of being content with where we are now. We might even become satisfied (or smug) about our spiritual life or our maturity. We have to realize, as Paul did, that we still have a long way to go, if we want to know Christ completely.
Thirdly, if we want to make solid resolutions, we need to put the failures of previous attempts behind us. In previous years, have we made resolutions, only to discover that a few weeks later, we have fallen down and not kept them? Maybe it's only been days until we realize we've failed. Statistics say that eight out of ten people who make New Year's resolutions won't keep them for more than a month. OK, so let's translate that: by February, most people have forgotten about their determined efforts to change.
But it doesn't have to be that way. We can put those past failures behind, and not let them make us fearful, or skeptical, about our potential for success this time. And we can make a plan -- we'll discuss this next time!