A New Life Resolution

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One thing I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after; to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.”

~ Psalm 27.4, NRSV

Well, it’s that time of year again—the end of it.  And it comes complete with year end sales, the word and person of the year, the best and worst of 2013 and the oldie but goodie New Year’s resolutions.

 It’s only natural.  We are looking back to review in order to look ahead to restart.  We are making vows to do more or less than we did last year: to spend less money and time at the office and more in prayer or with our family, to cut back on carbs or to cut out relationships that do more harm than good, to kick bad habits and to begin good ones.

Already new creatures in Christ,[1] still we are going to be better versions of ourselves, upgraded just as soon as the clock strikes midnight.  It is our Cinderella moment and the New Year is our fairy godmother.  Counting down from ten, we will live happily ever after, after this year.  “Bibbitty- boppity- boo!”

Somehow at the end of the year, time is of the essence and it’s time to get serious, to get things right and in order because time is running out.   We are getting older and time is not waiting on us but has passed us by, waving and smiling in the rearview mirror.  So, we have decided that we need to change and next year is the year to do it.

It is a new year and though we have no proof of it, we already believe that it is going to be better than the year before.  Next year is without spot or blemish.  It is without mistake or regret, trouble or setback, pain, sickness or death.  Nothing bad will happen because it has not happened.  It’s perfect only because it has not begun.

We have not met next year before; yet, we believe that things will be different, that we can be different.  We resolve that this or that will happen next year.

But, it is not long after the ball drops that we drop the ball.  The confetti is still falling to the ground, couples are still kissing and the streets remain crowded and already we have done what we said we would not.  We have lost interest in it or the motivation to do it at all.  Whatever the reason, the newness quickly fades and we lose our resolve, placing our bet on next year.  There’s always next year.

Perhaps, our expectations were too high or there were simply too many.  Maybe our resolve was for the wrong reason.  Or, could it be that we have lost our tenacity, our steadfastness?  That the value of commitment to ourselves, to others and to God is in deep and continual decline— because there’s always next year?

Might I suggest that we forget about next year and focus on the totality of our lives, that we create a new life resolution?  This is not to be confused with a mantra, a motto or a bucket list.  There are no steps, principles or strategies.  This will not make you feel ten years younger or look ten pounds lighter.  It will not turn heads but it will turn your life around.  And it’s just one thing.

What is the one thing that God has called you to do that you would seek after, that you’d look for, that you would borrow and beg to do.[2]

David had a life resolution; he said, “One thing I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.”  King David lived in a palace but wanted to abide with God.[3]  He was not satisfied with Sunday morning worship and midweek Bible study.  He wanted more than Sunday and Vacation Bible School.  It didn’t matter if it was contemporary or traditional, one hour or three, in the city or the suburbs.

And though God was present with him, David felt that there was something special about the house of God and he wanted to remain there.  He wanted to change his mailing address.  He said in Psalm 26.8, “O Lord, I love the house in which you dwell and the place where your glory abides.”  In says in Psalm 29, “In his temple all say, ‘Glory!’”[4]

For David, the house of God is not about programs or service projects.  David just wants to be in the presence of God.  He doesn’t need a choir or a preacher.  He is smitten by the beauty of God, in love with the glory of God so he seeks to be in God’s house.  It’s the one thing that he wants.

Like David, all we need is one thing— one hope, one dream, one desire— to pursue, to chase after until we are out of breath, sweaty and our sides ache.  It is so easy to commit to a new year but how many of us are willing to commit to a new way of life, to resolve to do this one thing for the rest of our lives?

You won’t be the first, I assure you.  The mother of Jesus, Mary’s life resolution was obedience: “Let it be with me according to Your word.”[5]  John the Baptist’s life resolution was to prepare the way of the Lord: “I decrease so that you (that is, the Christ) might increase.”[6]  Paul’s life resolution was to know Christ: “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death…”[7]

While on earth, Jesus had a life resolution: to save,[8] “to be about his Father’s business.”[9] Jesus “died once and for all.”[10]  He did for us what we could not do for ourselves— next year or any other.  Because for all of our resolutions, this is one thing we can’t do.  And this new life resolution is fool proof because it is rooted in God’s resolve for a new life with us.   God’s resolution is relationship: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only (begotten) Son that (whosoever)[11] believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”[12]

What will your new life resolution be?

Endnotes


[1] First Corinthians 5.17

[2] Strong’s Concordance 7592: sha’ al— “to ask, enquire, borrow, beg”

[3] Strong’s Concordance 3427: yashab— “to dwell, remain, sit, abide; to dwell, to have one’s abode; to be set”

[4] Psalm 29.9

[5] Luke 1.38

[6] John 3.30; See also Luke 1.76-77

[7] Philippians 3.10

[8] First Timothy 1.15

[9] Luke 2.49

[10] I Peter 3.18

[11] This verse is John 3.16 as translated in the New Revised Standard Version, save the use of begotten and whosoever which is found in the King James Version.  The NRSV says “everyone” and does not include the designation “begotten.”

[12] John 3.16

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