Daily Devotion - Friday, January 1, 2016
This week for our Daily Devotions, we'll be focusing on the coming of a new year, and what it means to be given a fresh start, a second chance and another opportunity to become the people that God has always dreamed for us to become.
"You are never too old to set another goal, or to dream a new dream." - C.S. LewisHere are some of the things I'm resolving for the coming New Year--in no particular order:
Read a book a week (I've actually done this before, so I know it can be done), Lose the rest of the weight I need to lose (about 10 lbs), Increase the frequency of my workouts at the gym, Go to a pastor/church leader conference, Get more organized/set better priorities, Take at least two awesome trips, and Spend more quality time with my family.
I figured it would be kind of cathartic in a way to share what I would like my resolutions to be this year. Maybe (and here's where my thinking might get a bit muddled) if I shared them here in public I might have a better chance of keeping them.
My reasoning on this is that if I have a bunch of people out there holding me accountable, I can make this happen. In other words, you, dear reader, can act as my will power because, according to my recent track record with resolutions, I have none. So, if I hold on to the notion that somewhere out there are people who know what I've resolved, it will increase the likelihood that I'll be able to carry through with it all.
I could be fooling myself, though. Knowing you are out there keeping tabs on me (not that I'm paranoid or anything) could actually have the opposite effect. It might make me more likely to fail because I'll be focused on the fact that so many of you are watching me, counting on me, expecting me to succeed.
I mean, I want to make you happy its just that you seem to want so much from me, you know? Why are you like that? What's up with all of the high expectations? Listen, why don't we just call all of this off right now before I let you down, and make a mess of all of this? So, forget everything I said earlier about those resolutions. I could never live up to your standards even if I wanted to, so there.
By now you've probably figured out that I'm either up to something in this devotion or I've gone crazy. It could be both, but the former is more appropriate in this case than the latter.
I think most of us truly do want to become the people God dreams for us to become. We have ideas and notions about what that would look like, and sometimes we resolve to do whatever it takes to make that path clearer.
But then our doubts and fears kick in and leave us stymied. We assume that God's standards and expectations are far too high for us, and so we end up back where we started: stuck.
Proverbs 16:3 reads, "Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans." That verse seems kind of strange, doesn't it? It seems like it should read, "Commit to the Lord your plans, and he will establish what you will do." The fact that surrender of yourself, what you do, your resolutions about life, a new year and everything comes before the establishment of your plans is the key.
The only way we are ever going to become the people God wants for us to become is by surrendering everything to God, including our fears and doubts about whether we can live up to God's standards. We can't always live up to God's standards, no matter how hard we try, but that doesn't mean we get to stop trying.
May you be filled with the faith and the trust that you need to surrender yourself to God in this new year. May you commit whatever you do to God, and trust that the plans he has for you are perfect. May you step fearlessly into this new year, knowing that you are held in God's will. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.