This is a time for New Year’s resolutions. I used to look skeptically upon such things, but I no longer do. Yes, it is likely that you may not exercise “every day” or write your wife a love letter “every week.” At the same time the old adage that says “aim low and you will hit your target” cannot be denied. Actually, the Bible is filled with admonitions to turn from old ways and to “renew our minds” in order to reorder our world.
From three places in Scripture, consider what a godly resolution must include:
Revival of the Heart
This is the prayer of David after he fell in sin:
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalms 51.10 NIV).
A resolution without a revival in the seat of our wills is of no use and will have no eternal value.
Renewal of the Mind
We must as God’s people recognize that it is not only the heart, the seat of emotions, but the mind, the seat of intellect, that controls our behavior. Thus, Paul calls for the Roman Christians to do intellectual inventory. Do your thoughts follow God’s thoughts revealed in His Word or the thoughts of the ungodly world?
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12.2 ESV).
Refitting of the Soul
When your heart is revived, your mind is renewed, you are ready for your soul to be refitted. How? As an outflow of God’s grace, through a deep, personal relationship with Jesus, constrained by His love, you dedicate yourself to spiritual disciplines.
We know this because Paul taught it to Pastor Timothy:
“Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come”? (1 Timothy 4.7,8).
Here is the way Eugene Peterson paraphrases this wonderful passage:
“Exercise daily in God—no spiritual flabbiness, please! Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever” (1 Timothy 4.7, 8 The Message).
Wherever you are wanting to go in 2008, remember that God’s Word teaches us that our resolutions, if they are to have eternal significance, must include:
A Revival of the Heart
A Renewal of the Mind
A Refitting of the Soul.
“Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but
to improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.
Resolved, to maintain the strictest temperance
in eating and drinking.
Resolved, never henceforward, until I die, to
act as if I were any way my own; but entirely
and altogether God’s.
Resolved, to endeavor to my utmost to act as
I think I would do, if I had already seen the
happiness of heaven, and the torments of hell”
(for his complete resolutions, click here).
My beloved, I pray God blesses you with a Happy New Year that is filled with resolutions that will truly bring you not only eternal life, but disciplines that will bring you abundant life here and now.