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My New Year's Resolve

I’m not a fan of making New Year’s resolutions. This is likely because I know I could never keep them. You know the popular resolutions well.  Get-up-earlier, actually-exercise-for-the-love, go-to-bed-earlier, read-the-one-year-Bible-without-missing-a-day, cut-out-sweets, I mean, who am I kidding? I could never keep those up for an entire year. That’s 365 days! (I’m not good with math so hopefully I got that right). I don’t make resolutions because I can’t keep them. I end up feeling like a failure come March or April when I’ve lost all steam to uphold such resolutions and I go on a colossal binge of all things unhealthy and unorderly. Is anybody with me?

Resolutions may not be my thing at the start of every New Year, but to resolve, that I can work with.

Resolve means to ‘decide firmly on a course of action.’ I can do that.

You may be familiar with a guy named Daniel from the Bible. He’s the guy who was thrown in a lion’s den and lived to tell about it. He was also a man who influenced culture and didn’t allow the cultural waves to carry him away from the path he was on. Daniel was an Israelite. He was one of God’s chosen people. He was living in Jerusalem when the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar invaded and took what he wanted from the area, including Daniel.

Without warning, Daniel was kidnapped and under the King’s orders, he was to learn the Babylonian way, culture, language, literature, etc. He was also ordered to adopt the diet of the King’s men, a beefy diet of meats, carbs and wine (I’m doing a round of whole30 at the moment so all of that sounds delicious right about now. It’s only day 2; I’m in trouble.).  

In Daniel 1:8 it says, “But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine…”.

Daniel was bold. Essentially, a slave, he told his new boss he didn’t want to spoil himself with what the earthly King Neb (we can call him Neb for short don’t you think?) considered fitting because Daniel lived for a better way serving God, the King of all Kings.

We are people of culture. We were born into a particular culture during a particular time period for a particular purpose ordained by Jesus long ago. Culture is not bad. But there are cultural trends that are not of God and are not pleasing to Him. As a Christian, I want to be like Daniel. I want to live my life according to what’s good and pleasing to God and not according to my wavering culture.

So here’s my resolve for 2017.

·         I resolve to forgive, even when it’s hard to.

·         I resolve to love my neighbor, even when my neighbor is annoying or difficult to love.

·         I resolve to speak words that encourage, uplift and empower, not words that criticize or mock.

·         I resolve to speak up for those whose voice has been taken away by injustice and violence.

·         I resolve to befriend sojourners despite political direction.

·         I resolve to seek reconciliation and build bridges where there is division.

·         I resolve to allow for interruptions of my daily plans for somebody else who may need a smile, a

           listening ear or just a hug.

·         I resolve to listen more and state my opinion less.

·         I resolve to not allow fear to creep into my daily life and paralyze me; rather, I will live boldly

          believing the victory of Jesus is already won and keep stepping on.

·         I resolve to spend more time with family and take better care of those around me.

·         I resolve to honk less at slow driving mini vans and consider my time in the comfort of my car a

          blessing (can I get a witness?).

And like it is with resolutions, I’ll mess these up in some way throughout the year. But I won’t feel like a failure when I do. Resolutions are my way and I will always fail attempting to live my way. Shame will dig in where I feel failure and who has time for that?

Resolving to a better way results in a better life, mess ups and all. Because Jesus paved a way for us to be loved despite our short comings. Thank you Jesus; I'll take it. 

I resolve to follow The Way above the cultural waves.

I’m ready for 2017. Who’s with me?  

“So if you are going to swim in the cultural oceans and be a Christian, you better be a dolphin, not a jelly fish, because a jelly fish just goes with the flow and dolphins can cut through the tidal currents and swim toward the truth and swim toward holiness and heaven in spite of cultural tides.” –John Piper

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I drink coffee, read books, and travel. I’ve been able to drink coffee and discuss books with friends all over the world, simply because someone built a bridge and I made it east of the Mississippi and beyond. For this reason, I love bridges.