Two days away from a new year. How are your resolutions shaping up? We all know that nothing magical happens between the 31st and the 1st but there is a sense of change, or at least the potential for change. There is not a filtering system where everything gets left behind in the old year so we can start over in the new but there are some decisions we can make to be a different person in the new year.
You aren't going to be shocked that I would suggest that it has to start with Jesus. Well, not so much Jesus as it is our attitude in our relationship with Jesus. Everything hinges on that relationship. It is Jesus who changes us so any real change we want to see happen is only going to take place when we welcome those changes.
Personally I know that I have to make other people my greater focus, but that can only happen if I am walking even closer with Jesus. I can clear my agenda to make more time for people. I can change my daily routine to give others greater priority. I can change my financial target so I am investing in people. I can do all this but it won't last if Jesus' love is not my motivation and the only way this becomes my motivation is if it is the foundation of my life. I know for a fact that the greatest thing in my life, in the world, in the universe is the Father's love. But knowing it and allowing that to shape me are two different things.
I will share with you my prayers and desires for myself for this new year:
1. Greater intimacy with Jesus and acting upon that intimacy, allowing it to shape my life so the following can happen
2. Greater intimacy with my wife and acting upon that intimacy
3. Greater intimacy with my family and acting upon that intimacy
4. Greater intimacy with friends and acting upon that intimacy
5. Greater intimacy with strangers and acting upon that intimacy
What I mean by "acting upon that intimacy" is to go beyond words, allowing it to shape the direction of my days, my agenda, purpose and actions. The love of Jesus must be seen in me through my relationship with other people. If all love does is cause me to sing and write I do not know as I aught to know because the love of Jesus compels us to take action. If it doesn't, we do not have the intimate relationship we need to have with Jesus.
My plan of action is simple but will take discipline :
1. Change my agenda to have more time with Jesus, the Word, prayer and worship.
2. Change my attitude so I am back to praying without ceasing, acting upon the presence of God, talking to and remaining open to Jesus throughout my day.
3. Change my agenda to have more time with people. If I want to love like Jesus then I have to have the same priority for people as Jesus did. People are not an interruption to my agenda, they are the purpose for it.
Sounds simple but if you knew what my days look like and the kind of rut I have fallen into you will know exactly what kind of challenge this is for me. But I have no choice. Our days here are growing shorter and we need to get our priorities in order. It is not about what we get from Jesus because we have already received everything. Our focus must be others, loving in Jesus' name. There are so many who are perishing and they have no idea what destruction they are heading toward. I want to be the tool Jesus uses to save them from that destruction. I must make myself more available for him to use.
So, it begins with Jesus. I hope that is where your plans for change begin as well. It's not bad if you have decided you want to exercise more, eat better, read more or whatever improvements you want to see in yourself but I encourage you to consider the eternal matters first. We have been left here for a purpose and that purpose should shape everything in this new year. May the Lord guide you and bless you in your thoughts for 2013.