I hate resolutions…don’t you? They’re so hard to keep, and I hate quitting! More than that, they’re cliche! I’m the person who is usually starting my work out regimen or healthy diet three weeks before January 1st, just so I don’t have to call it a resolution! The word “resolution”, in my opinion, has been overused and overrated, so instead, I am calling this verse my focus for this year (again).
John the Baptist declared in John 3, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
Every year, I come back around to this little verse with a BIG message. In fact, the whole reason you’re reading this blog post is because a Facebook note I wrote in 2011 popped up in my memories. Sometimes those memories involve funny pictures from the past that make us giggle, but other times, the memories that pop up make us stop and think about thoughts that we had years ago, thoughts that are just as relevant today as they were when we typed them the first time. They make us think. They take us back to a mindset that was simpler, a mindset focused on the right things.
Just like in 2011, I want to ask myself today, how do I plan to plan to decrease “self” in 2018? The answer hasn’t changed much.
It is likely that even those with the mind of Christ will not think like Him every once in awhile. That’s why Paul said to the Corinthians: “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” What exalts itself above the knowledge of God? Any thought that is contrary to God’s word! This year, I want to take every thought captive that is contrary to His spoken or written word!
I have learned that a person’s words are so important to God. They have the capacity to bring life or death to any situation. Colossians 4:6 says: “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how to answer each one.” My day isn’t going as planned… grace. A renown religious speaker seems to be a public failure… grace. A lost friend calls me and tells me they’re struggling… GRACE. This year, I want to speak with more grace than ever before.
Idols? You mean, those big grey statues that do not do anything? They certainly do not respond to my cries or dialogue with me in conversation. Instead, they sit there.. idle, stagnant, dead. The idols we set up for ourselves are no longer statues as in Biblical days, but they possess the same characteristics- this idol is ”stuff” that we think about more than God, “stuff” that we trust in more than God. This “stuff” can be social media, money, or another person. It’s anything that I hope will give me security and make me feel worth and acceptance. This year, I want God to be first in my life. I want to receive my worth and acceptance only from Him.
Love is the greatest gift, and it’s certainly not a gift that should be hidden away. Paul said in Romans 5 that the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, and again in Corinthians 5: “For the love of Christ compels us…” I have to ask myself, am I compelled by the love of God? In other words, am I motivated by love? This year, I want to be so compelled by the love that has been poured out to me that all the people around me are impacted by this love. As I go about this year, my wish is that I would grow in love to those around me.
Just as David cried out in Psalm 63, “My soul longs for you in a dry and weary land where there is no water,” I want my main focus to be the living God. This year, I am echoing John the Baptist’s cry and praying earnestly that I would decrease so that God can increase both in me and on the earth. Perhaps, dry and weary souls will be awakened to His love as a result.
No, resolutions aren’t easy to keep, but with God’s help, I think I can work on this one.