Sunday, January 1, 2012

Stay Awake

I'm not a big New Year's resolution kind of girl.  Probably because I've failed every time I've dared to make one.  Don't get me wrong, goals are good, discipline is good, but it usually ends up being more of a shame and failure thing about March than a rejoicing in success on December 31st. 

Even still, there is just something about starting fresh that draws me in and makes me want to right all that is wrong in my life . . . and do it all this year! 

Chad wrote something to our church that God had impressed on him about this issue and it was really powerful to me . . .

January 1 has historically been a very intense day in my life as I attempt to implement my lofty goals. The result is usually pride and a strong sense of accomplishment. No one would likely fault me for this, but as I reflect on the fruit of my efforts, I find myself at odds with the Gospel. Pride is the great enemy of humility, and humility is at the heart of the Gospel..."he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." (Phil. 2:8)

I should have been quicker to see that year after year of failed New Year's resolutions are perhaps an indication of something more than weak willpower. Maybe the resolutions are defective. Maybe I have made the means the end and have lost sight of the end all together.

Paul charged Timothy to "train yourself for godliness." (1 Tim. 4:7) In other words the goal is godliness, not training. When our goals, even our spiritual goals, become ends rather than a means to the end, we run the great risk of becoming prideful.

I'm pretty sure that often make the disciplines involved with training the ultimate goal instead of just the means to the real goal . . . godliness.  Being closer to the heart of my Father.  Reflecting Him more.  Fulfilling the mission He has given me.

So as I came to my time with Jesus this morning, I resolved to not make self-defeating resolutions.  I was just honest with God about my desires to know Him more and the fact that I didn't know exactly how He wanted to do that in my life, but that I'm ready for a new year of growth and purpose.  

And just like He always does, God spoke.

Mark 13 was my reading for today and such a timely Word.  

33 Be on guard, keep awake.[a] For you do not know when the time will come. 34 It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants[b] in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. 35 Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows,[c] or in the morning— 36 lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. 37 And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.” 

So what is my plan for 2012?  

Stay Awake!  

And not just staying awake while sitting around doing nothing.  In verse 34, all the people weren't just left hanging out at the house.  No, they were left with a mission, with work.  

I'm going to stay awake by being about the mission He has given me . . . to glorify God by making disciples of all nations.  Mark 13:10 says it clearly, "And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations."  

So I guess my New Year's resolution boils down to just being obedient.  The Great Commission in Matthew 28 isn't just for the elite, for a chosen few, for those with special training.  It is for me . . . and you.  And it isn't a suggestion.  It is a command.  Will we obey?

Chad pointed out in his sermon that we forget what a gift the Great Commission is to us.  If we truly desire to know God, then being given a mission is a blessing because in order to complete our mission it is necessary that we draw near to God, trust in His wisdom and strength, and cry out to Him to do what we can't . . . change hearts.   

As we live out the calling to make disciples, we will find ourselves becoming the men and women we desire, and God desires, us to be.  The kind of people we hope to become when we make endless resolutions that can have us defeated before we even begin. 

So I'm going to immerse myself in the Word of God (without stressing over a reading plan like usual), grow in prayer so as to intercede for others and join in the work God is doing (without making a detailed list of 5 things to pray for each day like I've done before), and I'm going to engage in the mission of making disciples in New Orleans and all nations (without worrying about getting the words out right instead of focusing on the heart of the person in front of me).

Happy New Year!

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