01 January 2009

New Resolve for the New Year


New Year's resolutions?

If the Spirit leads you thus, do so.

But prayerfully consider this different kind of New Year's resolution: Be resolved this day forward to steadily fix your heart, your mind, your very life upon that which the Lord is resolved. Imbibe His "New Year's resolution," so to speak, which renews every moment during all of the few years we are given to live on this spinning globe:

Thus says the LORD,
Who makes a way through the sea
And a path through the mighty waters...
"Do not call to mind the former things,
Or ponder things of the past.
Behold, I will do something new,
Now it will spring forth;
Will you not be aware of it?
I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,
Rivers in the desert...
I have given waters in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert,
To give drink to My chosen people.
The people whom I formed
for Myself
Will declare My praise."

~ Isaiah 43:16, 18-19, 20b-21

The word translated new in this passage is the Hebrew word chadash. Chadash means new in the sense of something fresh, renewed, repaired. Is this not what we yearn for in all of our resolution-making? All of our efforts? All of our trying harder? We are seeking fresh life, freedom from the stale and decaying habits of our past and the stench of our sin. We yearn for renewal, having new life replace what is dead or dying in our lives. We know we are broken, and that we cannot ourselves mend that which is torn, worn, and weak within us.

He, He makes the way. He, indeed, is the Way. And part of walking in the Way is forgetting what lies where our footsteps have already been. Instead...behold! Perceive, observe, gaze upon, stretch forward to see! What He will do--something NEW! It WILL happen, and not just "happen," but it will spring forth--sprout, grow abundantly, be full of life.

The question is: Will we be aware of it?

Or will our eyes be too full of our list of resolutions and whether we can feel righteous about checking them off?

Oh, the wilderness we trod, both within and without...in this weary world, in this skin yearning to be delievered from sin's presence. But a roadway is prepared. The way has been made before us. Living water flows abundant like rivers a long the way. For He knows our frame, that we are but dust, and gives us the refreshment of His Spirit, His precious promises in His Word, His presence. For He made us and knows our deepest longings and needs, far better than we ourselves. He made us for Himself, to be lovingly and completely in union with Him. Complete. Whole. Holy. That we might give Him the praise, the glory, the honour of which He is so very worthy. And this is what thrills our soul most of all, beyond all else.

Are we walking...this way?

Are we drinking...this water?

Are we...living?

Or are we list-making and trying harder? ...Resolutions...

The paradox is that we are to make every effort and apply all diligence. To add moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love to our faith, for example. But first comes seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness...through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. It begins with Him.

For He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them we may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world. It is sustained by Him.

For we shall declare His praise. Its end is for Him.

That is His resolve.

And that is my New Year's resolution.

Now to Him
who is able to do
exceeding abundantly beyond
all that we ask
or think,
according to the power
that works within us,
to Him
the glory
in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations
forever and ever.

~ Ephesians 3:20-21


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