Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Christian Resolutions

by Ken Harvey

Like many people, this time of year tends to make me evaluate my life more thoroughly. While there is nothing magical about the changing of the calendar year, the time off work allows me to spend time focusing on patterns of my life and personal goals. The usual areas of growth are apparent: I need to spend more time in the Word and prayer. In years past, I have tried to find solutions by creating a new reading plan, a new Scripture memorization plan, a new schedule… always some new method or strategy, but without a biblical goal in sight. Time passes, love of self grows, and commitments fade.

These commitments fall apart because heart issues are not addressed. Obedience to biblical commands is not found in a laundry list of tasks. Obedience is a matter of the heart. The goal of all my affections, thoughts, and actions should be to know and love God more through the knowledge of His Word and reliance on the Spirit. This is the greatest commandment: to love God and our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:28-33). Consider the following passages as you take stock of your life:

  • 1 Timothy 1:5 The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
  • Galatians 3:3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?
  • Galatians 5:25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
  • Colossians 2:6 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him.

Failure to obey God’s instruction regarding spiritual growth is a serious matter. When I do not take heed of the Word of God, not only will my commitments result in failure, but I commit sin. Any effort to improve myself or my standing before God that is not rooted in the work of Christ (Romans 5:1-2) is pride and it reveals my weak understanding of His grace and love for me. Any effort to make myself a better person without the goal of knowing and loving God more is sinful, fleshly (not spirit-filled), and hinders my reliance on Him. This year may “the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all” (2 Corinthians 13:14).


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