“New Years Renovation”
“…that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent…” John 17:3
Well, we turn the page on another year! 2014 is now officially in the rear view mirror and the vast landscape that is 2015 lies before us—unknown and unencumbered by the weight of disappointment and blemish, much like a meadow covered with a fresh blanket of snow. Each day will be a lived experience of the moment, the culmination of which adds to the diary of our lives another chapter of the journey.
Some well-intentioned folks begin each New Year with a fresh set of “resolutions.” A resolution is aptly defined as “a firm decision to do or not to do something.” According to current trend watchers, nearly half of all Americans make a resolution to start the New Year. Top five are stated as follows: lose weight, get organized, spend less/save more, enjoy life to the fullest, and stay fit and healthy. You may be aware, but only 8% of those resolutions made find success, and, astonishingly, a full 80% of those fail by January 20!! Think of it: a firm decision made to change some aspect of one’s life won’t even last three weeks and then it succumbs to status quo—life as usual. Maybe this is why the other half of Americans don’t make any resolutions at all—they know they won’t make it very far.
Unbelievable! Yet, how many of us find ourselves in a similar situation. We want to see progress in our life of faith so we make a firm determination to add a significant feature to our daily lives, or remove a significant hindrance to the same, only to be disappointed at the result. Our intentions are based on pure motivations and a heart desiring that which is good. Trust me…I’ve experienced something like this in my own journey. (I’m in the 50% group who no longer makes any New Year’s resolution—lol).
I propose an idea: instead of making a New Year’s resolution which as a 92% failure rate, we need to make a New Year’s renovation. One can understand renovation as imparting new vigor or to revive. In this renovation process we begin to pay particular and special interest to our soul. Dallas Willard wrote in his book The Renovation of the Heart that the very first thing we must do is “to be mindful of our soul, to acknowledge it…to take the soul seriously and deal with it regularly and intelligently.”
At first glance that seems like it might be an Everest type mountain to climb. I suggest that while it might present come difficulties, it is far from impossible. Consider these insights from Willard:
Abandon outcomes—that is, don’t set out with a high list of expectations of how God should behave or what we should “get” out of it. Rather, simply “entrust our souls to a faithful creator” as Peter (1 Pt 4:19) encourages.
Deal with sin quickly and vigorously—don’t let it hang around as sin normally infects everything around it. Again following Peter’s admonition we “abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against our soul (1 Pt 2:11).
Embrace God’s distinguishing word—the writer of Hebrews could confidently pen that God’s word divides the nuances of the soul to the degree that it enhances the heart’s ability to discriminate correctly the world and our activity in it (Hebrews 4:12).
Find stillness—Korah knew well that there are things concerning our walk with God that can only be discovered in stillness—“be still and know that I am God,” he said (Ps 46:10). Great insight into our times.
So, set the resolutions aside, and begin a work of Spiritual renovation. I believe that 2015 can be the best year ever for your soul!
Blessing on the Journey,