2006 is here. For some reason, that number is just intimidating me. I don’t know why, can’t explain it, but it is. 2006. Nothing different about the numbers, it doesn’t represent anything special or unusual as far as I can tell. But there it is. 2006. Amazing. It really is. Another year is upon us.
What are we going to do this year? What are we going to do with the time? Are you like everyone else that makes a new year’s resolution? Have you set your mind and heart to doing something this year? Loose weight? Read the bible from cover to cover? Eat healthier? Exercise more? Repair a relationship? Get in touch with a long lost friend? There is a lot of things you can set your mind to, isn’t there? And most of us do. With make a resolution (whatever that really is) and we start out the new year trying to do whatever it is that we talked ourselves into doing.
And it lasts….. How long? How long is it before we break the resolution? How long is it before we can’t handle it any more? How long is it before we give up and go back to the good old ways of doing things? It is sad, isn’t it? Nearly 90% of Americans make new year’s resolutions. 65% of the resolutions are broken before February ever gets here. And 95% of the resolutions are broken before the end of July. So there ya go, proof that we shouldn’t even bother with the whole thing in the first place, right?
Well, it really depends on how you look at it. A resolution is a challenge, to yourself, to improve on something in your life. To get better. To climb the ladder. To reach the next level. To be better than you are now. Whatever it is, it is a challenge that you make to yourself. It is a good idea, as a matter of fact, it is an excellent concept. So, why doesn’t it work? Why do we break the resolutions? Why do we falter? Why do we give up?
To be perfectly honest, it is probably because we are just plain lazy. It is hard to climb the ladder, reach the next level. It takes work, discipline, sacrifice. It hurts. It stretches. It forces us to leave our comfort zones. Maybe sometimes we make resolutions that are really not realistic. We challenge ourselves far beyond what we are truly are able to do in the amount of time we give ourselves. I am not making excuses, I am just thinking out loud about this whole thing. I think the concept of challenging ourselves is good, I think the way we try to do it is bad. Maybe there is a better way to do it.
Sometimes we just want too much too quickly. We want to grow in giant leaps and bounds when what we should be doing is growing in baby steps. Little by little, day by day. You know, sort of like the tortoise and the hare. Look at it this way. Let’s say that you run into someone that hasn’t seen you in a couple of weeks. You have made the resolution of being a better, more responsible person this year. You have decided to really take your Christian walk seriously. You are going to really walk the walk and talk the talk like you have never done it before. Your friend makes the comment that you look great and that you haven’t changed a bit from the last time they say you. Would that really surprise you? Of course not, how much can you really change in just a few weeks. You have been on the walk, sort of, but you have just recently really put the pedal to the metal, so to speak. It is going to take a while for people to really start taking notice of your new passion, walk, and dedication.
But, let’s say you run into a friend that has not seen you in years. They make the comment that you look great and that you haven’t changed a bit. How do you take that comment? Now it is quite a bit different, isn’t it? They see you the SAME exact way they remember you from a long time ago. No real changes. Now that carries a lot of implications, doesn’t it? If a Christian doesn’t show significant changes over the course of a long period of time, no real growth has occurred. And no real growth could be observed as decay, even death. And that is not good.
But, if your friend makes the comment that you look great and they can’t even believe their eyes in what they see, as in how much you have changed for the good, for the evidence of your dedication to Christ as your savior, what a compliment! And that is a resolution that we all should be working towards. Not giant leaps and bounds, but slow, and steady, baby steps, improving and growing everyday to become more and more like Jesus. And not giving up the first time we slip up and “break” our resolution. We fall down, then get up, dust ourselves off, and keep on going. Sometimes we fall harder, and it takes more effort to get up, takes more effort to clean up the bumps and bruises, the nicks and cuts. And sometimes we fall so hard that we need help to get up, someone to help bandage us up and even tend after us. But we keep going. That is resolution, a real resolution, that will really make a difference.
Every year I challenge my youth group to make a new year’s resolution as a group. It is usually something cleaver, something catchy. This year is no exception, except for the fact that I think this year our youth group resolution has the potential to really make a difference on the group and the people we will come in contact with this year. The challenge is this, “PUT YOUR PASSION INTO ACTION!” Man, that is something to think about. Putting your passion into action. It involves several things and makes a lot of implications. First, you have to find your passion. Passion. Passion is something that you believe in, STRONGLY. That is one of the greatest weaknesses of the church today if you ask me. We are not passionate enough about what we really believe to be important.
But I am talking about bring it down to the individual level. There are so many things we can believe in, have feelings about, opinions, thoughts, etc. But rarely do we really get passionate about something. Especially something that is going to make a difference, a REAL difference. For me, it is pretty easy to figure out what I am truly passionate about, right? Doing mission work in Honduras for the past 15 years has been one of my greatest passions, and the more I do it the more passionate I get about it.
And that brings me to the second part of the challenge, “PUTTING IT INTO ACTION!” Doing something about it. Working, sacrificing, moving forward, dreaming, applying, recruiting, organizing, all for one thing: TO HELP THE PEOPLE OF HONDURAS AND BRING THEM THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT JESUS AND HIS SAVING GRACE. And not just to Honduras, but to all men everywhere. Putting my faith into action. That is what it is rally about. It has become so real, so important to me, that climbing up the ladder and getting to the next level is all I can think about. I would be sadly disappointed if I met a long lost friend who saw me now and did not see a real change in me. I am a different person than I was a year ago. Especially a couple, or a few, or several years ago.
What about you? How much have you changed since you began your walk? How many baby steps have you taken? How many steps up the ladder have you gone? How many levels have you reached? Believe me, if you ever get truly passionate about your faith and your relationship with Jesus, and put your passion into action, you will be a different person. You will be radically different. You will be a person that the Bible refers to as a person “IN the world but not OF the world.”
I hope this article has challenged you to think a little, maybe a lot, about your relationship with Jesus today. I hope it has “rattled your cage.” I hope it has yanked your chains. I hope it has done a lot of things. But mostly, I hope that it has challenged you to crank it up a notch, to rise up and move forward, and upward, with a new zeal, a new purpose, a new resolve. May 2006 be the year that will be the year that everyone that knows you will look back and say, “Wow, you look great and I can’t believe how much you have changed!!!” God bless and happy new year! Its great to be able to say that to you all.
With much love,