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FROM THE PASTOR'S DESK
JANUARY 2, 2022 - THREE RESOLUTIONS
Three Resolutions Every Christian Should Make in 2022
Even the greatest of accomplishments can be realized if we just do the simple things. That's true in everything from losing weight to writing a novel. As much as we want to change the world in a single step, the reality is that a slow and steady commitment to do the right thing is a far more powerful force.
Growing and progressing in your walk with Christ is no different. So, with the backdrop of James chapter 1, I propose that each Christian ought to commit to and follow through on these simple resolutions to do enable them to do more for God in 2019:
Resolution #1: Talk with God More
In James 1:5, we're told that we simply need to ask God for wisdom if we find we're without it. Far too many moves are made by Christians without reaching out to the God we claim to worship. Instead, we make our move and then, when things go wrong (as they inevitably will), we blame God (see James 1:13) plaintively questioning why He would allow such a horrible fate to befall us.
Instead, why not develop a practice of pouring out your complaints to the Lord (Psalm 142:2), asking Him to meet your daily needs (Matthew 6:11), and seeking His direction for our important moments in life (James 1:5)? He is the source of every good thing that we have, after all (James 1:17).
But to follow through with this resolution, you will have to make it a point of effort:
- Build prayer time into your daily schedule
- Use a list to keep track of your conversations with God and actually pray for more things
- Find unique opportunities to pray--while driving, walking, working on certain kinds of tasks
- Parents should consider taking a minute to pray with their children before bed each night
Resolution #2: Listen to God Even More
James says that it is better to listen than speak (James 1:19). While prayer is good and useful, it is ultimately His word that saves, not my abundance of prayer (James 1:21). In fact, without proper grounding in the truth and word of God, our prayers can misfire (James 4:3). That doesn't mean we don't pray. But it does mean that we pray from the foundation of God's word.
Why not develop a practice of spending time just listening to the Lord speaking through His word. His words are the "word of life" (Philippians 2:16) and are worthy of spending time hearing them and enjoying them daily.
But to follow through with this resolution, you will have to make it a point to build Scripture time into your schedule:
- Read something from Scripture daily
- Consider using a systematic plan to engage with more of the Bible ... you can actually cover more than you realize! I've personally used the "Book at a Time" plan, but there's one that cover the New Testament in a year (good for someone who's not yet read through the Bible), one that organizes the readings chronologically, or the somewhat famous Robert Murray M'Cheyne plan
- Consider adding some tools to enable you to engage and react to the word, such as a journaling Bible or a notebook
- Supplement your reading with sermons or devotional music; I listen to a couple of different pastors each week
Resolution #3: Obey Everything God Tells You
Of course, conversation is good, but it's not the end, because when you hear something, you are responsible for it. Not only is it pointless to hear the truth and do nothing about it (James 1:22), it's a really good sign that your religion is useless (James 1:26).
Why not develop a practice of actually obeying what you hear from the Lord in your daily reading? That's where the real blessings start (James 1:25).
But to follow through with this resolution, you will have to make it a point to build obedience in your life:
- Must remember that Christianity is about following Christ, not just learning, but actually doing what He tells us!
- Must stop making allowances for your flesh and weaknesses (Romans 13:14)
- You'll have to ask God for help (talk to Him some more!)
- You'll need to seek help in the Scripture (hear from Him some more!)
- Be sure to lean on your brothers & sisters to "provoke you to love" (Hebrews 10:24)
The end of the year is a great time to make a commitment. But I'd caution you not don’t do it unless you intend to follow through. If you do commit and follow through, you will be blessed (James 1:25)!