It has been many days since my last post and I hope that future days won’t find so much distance between my thoughts. Strangely, vacation, though much needed, too often puts my mind on hiatus and is a deterent to critical thinking and meaningful engagement – at least it is for me. So, for my 8 loyal readers, please pardon my absence. I hope better days lie ahead in the future.

I don’t typically make resolutions as many people do at the beginning of a new year, and I wouldn’t consider these thoughts resolutionary. I simply thought it would be helpful to set before my heart some ambitions this coming year that I believe will aid the formation of Jesus’ character to greater degrees in my life. Several of these thoughts have been prompted, I believe, directly by the Spirit within my heart, while others I found caught in the gravitational pull of thoughts expressed in Jonathan Edward’s resolutions.

  1. I resolve to read godly works for personal application with as much earnestness as I do while reading for corporate or relational instruction. I find at work within my heart a desire to learn for the sake of pointing others to Jesus sometimes more than I do the sake of my own soul. I suppose, on some level, this is evidence of a pastoral heart for others, and while true, there is also a measure of pride in reading godly instruction and thinking only of others and not how truth impacts my own personal life as well. I felt this conviction just last evening as I was reading a portion of a book and found myself thinking of how helpful this would be to someone else when the Spirit reminded me that this truth would be equally significant in my own marriage.
  2. I resolve to redeem the time more deliberately. In a technological world of mass media, I am dumbfounded by how easily I allow my life to slip through my fingers by wasting time watching televison and movies, listening to music, surfing the internet, reading the newspaper, brousing the latest magazine pubication, and participating in leisurely activities. This isn’t to say that any of these things are inherently evil. But the entitlement we feel regarding rest and leisure is a significant pitfall to our spiritual growth and investment in God’s kingdom. We demand rest, and yet Scripture promises rest, not in this life, but in God’s presence (Hebrews 4). I am never “off the clock”. God is at work all around me and opportunities to speak of Jesus in a way that glorifies the Father abound on a daily basis. When I leave my office, my work hasn’t ended; it has only begun because when I get home I have a wife to “wash with the Word” (Eph 5) and two daughter’s hearts to shepherd and point to Jesus. And everywhere in between these two most important places in life where I invest most of my time there are opportunities to speak of Jesus and perform the good works I was created to do in Jesus. I waste time because I think I am entitled to leisure and rest. While not bad things, they should consume less time than they do.
  3. I resolve to live with no regrets in light of the reality that I will soon die. Soon may mean 40 years, and while 40 years seems like a long time, my life is but a vapor in light of eternity. I am becoming increasingly burdened that I want my life to count. I am troubled by the ease and comforts of the West and the great suffering around this world that so many of us have the resources to do something about. God, help me to live with no regrets this year. May I love better. May my family be more holy come this time next year. May people see Jesus formed more clearly in my life. May I have the opportunity to speak to friends about Jesus. Help me serve better.
  4. I resolve to eat better. I know this sounds like what so many other fat Americans resolve to do this time of the year, but I have a more spiritual thought in mind here. Over the past many months I have been saddened by how many influential Christian leaders are grossly overweight. Jim Eliot once said (and I am paraphrasing here) that the body was made for God and the reason he wanted to be physically fit was so that he could physically do whatever God demanded that he do. So many Christians who have no physical limitations or reasons not to be fit are not fit and are disqualified from potential areas of ministry because they are physically unable to perform. I don’t want to be that person.
  5. I resolve to order my home financially. I want to be free to follow God’s lead. One thing is certain though: financial debt hinders our ability to obey God’s purposes.
  6. I resolve to spend more time in the Word. I want its study, application and transformation to be plainly evidenced in my life. I want to know God better through His Word and I want to be able to incorporate my knowledge of the Word into all areas of life.

May Jesus fill this year with His richest blessings and fullest measure of grace for us all.