I am not usually a big fan of new year’s resolutions. Maybe it’s because in the past when I have tried to do a new year’s resolution, I would get to this point in the year (3 weeks in) and come to find that my resolution has already fallen by the wayside. So for the past few years I have given up on new year’s resolutions all together.
But in my studying this past year I spent some time reading the work of
Jonathan Edwards and I came across his Resolutions. In the years of 1722-23 he penned 70 resolutions and committed to read through them weekly. You can read the full list here. After reading his resolutions, it made some of my early day resolutions seem rather trivial and shallow. So this year, being inspired by Edwards, I decided to take a stab at a new year’s resolution once again. While Edwards had 70, I ended up with 7. But I will only share one here.
Resolved: To take pleasure and delight in God,
as God being an end in of himself.
In being a pastor sometimes I fall into the trap of God being my “profession.” At times there is a fine line where my personal time with God turns into a subtle attempt to master God so that I can be an excellent Bible teacher, counselor, leader, etc…. God then becomes a means to an end, that end being career advancement, rather than an end in of himself. So in a sense, I end up using God rather than delighting in God.
Maybe you don’t use God for career advancement, but there are many of us who want the promises of God, but not God himself. We are looking to God give us joy, peace, affirmation, salvation, etc… but we don’t really want Him, we only want what he has to offer. It’s as though we treat God like a vending machine.
I also think the idea of simply enjoying God is a radical idea for many Christians. Among Christians there is a this perception that we need to get better, be better and do better. Unfortunately, this is a message we hear all too often, even in the church. The result of hearing and believing this message is that we live out our faith in a performance paradigm motivated by guilt and shame. This significantly affects our understanding of how we are to live as children of God. It creates a belief that our main responsibility is to appease God and keep him happy. Our energy is then spent attempting to be good and not bad. This mentality neglects the work of Christ on our behalf and negates the cross. Then, our ability to enjoy God is significantly hindered. The truth is, in this paradigm there is no enjoyment of God.
This year, what I want to recover in my own life is what David says in Psalm 16.
“LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure…
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.“
I want to pursue God just for the sake of God being God. I want him to be my portion and my inheritance. What are you hoping for in 2011?