How many of your New Year’s Resolutions have survived the first week of 2012? Are you still on your diet? Exercise program? Texting less? Controlling spending? Listening more? Reading the Bible and praying daily?
Writer and preacher, Leonard Sweet makes some pertinent observations about the challenge of many of our resolutions.
“Most ‘resolutions’ we make are self-directed: get thinner, work smarter, be stronger, take control of your life. We want to make changes that will help us, improve us, and bring us good feelings about ourselves.”
“Jesus said to be “in” the world but not to be “of” the world. So let’s start with being “in” a world that begins each year making resolutions: let’s make a New Year’s Resolution. But what if we weren’t “of” this world of resolutions we’re “in”? Instead of resolutions to live 2012 in a way that makes us feel good about ourselves, that brings ourselves pleasure, what if we resolve to live a life that brings pleasure to God.”
“What if we were to forget the little resolutions and resolve something big (did you catch it? another in-not-of alteration since the world is filled with lots of resolutions but little resolve)? What if we were to resolve to so live in 2012 that in January of 2013 God can look back at our year of living and declare – ‘Your life brings me great pleasure. Well-done, good and faithful friend.’”
Give God pleasure? Is Leonard Sweet right? Is that Biblical? Listen to the Psalmist.
“The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, In those who hope in His mercy.” (Ps 147:1)
“Let the Lord be magnified, Who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.” (Ps 35:27)
“For the Lord takes pleasure in His people.” (Ps 149:4)
Maybe one way to understand this is to remember how much we enjoyed the approval of our parents when we were children. Their smile. A pat on the back. A hug. The words, “I’m so proud of you.” It made us feel good. Accepted. Secure. And loved.
Our Heavenly Father desires to find pleasure in our lives. And, if we really care about pleasing Him, it will bring to our lives a great sense of satisfaction, knowing that we are living a life pleasing God.
And so, make my resolution this year a simple one: “I Resolve to be more like Jesus.” In attitude. In attributes. In actions. That will please God, bring pleasure to him, and provide me the ultimate contentment.