Confession: I am not big on making New Year's resolutions...never have been.
The reason why? I believe that it just sets me up for failure and I don't relish the idea of failing. However, this past New Year's Day, as I was driving home from celebrating our family Christmas in Grand Rapids with my wife, Becky, and daughter, Jess, our conversation turned to establishing New Year's resolutions.
I told Becky and Jess my point of view on the subject. Jess piped back, "Okay then, how about goals? If you set goals, then you can look back and see how far you've come.” I paused for a moment, and said, "Now you're onto something!"
Then I blurted out what had just occurred to me as a perfect personal goal for 2017, "I want to pursue holiness this year." After I said it, I wondered how I could actually achieve it.
Getting closer to the Lord is a marvelous but massive undertaking and one that I do not take lightly. Genesis Chapter 4 raises the subject of ruling over the sin in your life and making a conscious effort to remove the obstacles and barriers to do so. This is what I plan to focus on in beginning to achieve my goal this year—I believe it will take my New Year's “resolution” to a whole new level.
"Ok, Joe, just rule over your sin!" I certainly have prayed about this alone and with Becky. Now I turn the rest over to the Holy Spirit. I must say in these several days in January I have elicited more confidence in not becoming a victim and getting sucked into the trap of sin in and around me that always is seeking to destroy. I am being much more intentional with my thoughts, my words and my deeds. I am checking my motives more closely and hopefully aligning them to the will of Christ.
In doing so, I have felt a difference in what I think about and how I am acting as I try to hold myself in check. This posture is making a difference if even in small ways! Being more disciplined takes practice.
There is another place in the Bible where it states, “Take every thought and make it obedient to Christ.” Wow, that is really tough, at least for me right now. I have often thought, what would it be like to have an entire day pass and not sin once? What would that look like?
And so, knowing that the spirit is willing but the body is weak, I will continue to move closer to my “resolution” so I can be more salt and light to everyone in my family circle, in my relationships personally and professionally, and with everyone in this community. The ripple effect has the potential to be huge.
Will you join me by taking an honest look at where you are personally in your relationship with Jesus as we begin this New Year? I pray that the Lord will take your relationship with Him, if you are willing, to a holier level. There's no doubt in my mind that you, your family, your sphere of influence, and the community will be the beneficiaries of this amazing pursuit.