Resolutions don’t often work well. But most of us would love to change. There are habits we’d like to quit and other habits we want to develop. Only an arrogant person would claim they don’t need to change. But we won’t if we don’t do something differently this year than last.
As I write this on New Years Eve, NFL teams that made the playoffs are studying game film of their opponents and film of their own performance. They do this so they can plan to face determined opposition this weekend. They do it to win football games and there is plenty at stake in terms of international attention, individual careers, and bragging rights. Surely our lives are worth a similar effort at evaluation and planning. Not so many people will notice and probably there isn’t as much money involved, but there is plenty at stake. No wants wants to show up at the end of his or her life and realize the ladder they’ve been climbing is leaning against the wrong wall.
As usual, I’m evaluating how I faired on my goals for last year and am working on a new set for 2015. I’m more hopeful this year because I’ve discovered a way to pray through my goals in just a couple of minutes each morning as part of my morning prayer and Bible reading time. I have them all typed out in an application called Evernote, alongside other prayer concerns and lists of people I pray for daily and weekly. I hear that paper and pen still work also. It’s important that you write goals down. If you don’t write them down you’ll have no way of reviewing them. If you don’t review them you won’t make much progress on them. Positive change doesn’t happen by accident any more than my garage gets better organized by itself.
There’s a life goal God places in the heart of every Christ follower when they are born again. He places inside us a desire to be like Jesus. You may ignore it or suppress it but it’s there. That transformation doesn’t happen by accident either. We are dependent on God to be transformed. But that doesn’t mean there is nothing for us to do. Part of what we can do it to look at Jesus carefully so that our brain detects the gap between who he is and who we are. If you look at Jesus and don’t see a discrepancy between your life and his, you are either not being honest or not paying attention.
It’s for this purpose that I spend some time in at least one of the gospels in my preaching each year. Sunday I’m beginning a new series called Get out of the Box: How Following Jesus Destroys your Comfort Zone. The first message comes from Mark 7:24-30 and is called How Can I Change?