29 January 2009

Out with the Old, in with the New, part 4

It has been a while since I’ve written about New Years Resolutions. I understand that January is almost over, and that subject matter is already old, but still—I’ve been meaning to write about it, and since it’s not February yet, I give myself permission.

A little over a year ago I was too overcome with dismay over having just turned 35 to even think about any new year’s resolutions. All I wanted to do was eat chocolate and have regular pity parties because I was 35 and still not rid of some of my most hated bad habits. And instead of making token new years resolutions that I had no intention of keeping, I just made none. Well not this year. This year I’ve made a couple of resolutions, but I became even more aware of my natural tendencies in the process. You see, recognizing that I have no intention to follow through with my decision is one thing, but hating that about myself and being willing to change that about myself is something entirely different. I have become way too comfortable with my bad habits (even hating them)—and I know that I need to change. James 4:13-17 says,
“Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.' Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.' Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” (italics mine.)
Did you know that this verse was not recently added to the Bible? I didn’t just come across it for the first time in my life, either! It’s been there all along. (Along with other verses that I know are there but I have allowed myself to not pay close attention to at times when it was an inconvenient truth.) I’ve been basically allowing myself to be comfortable with sinning because I was comfortable not doing those things that I know I should do.

I'll give an example: Finances. It has been years since I've actually balanced the checkbook. I don't regularly overdraw our account (although it has happened a couple of times), and I pay all of our bills (mostly on time). We have a good credit score, so it's not that big of a deal, right? Wrong. God says in Psalm 50:10-12,
"For every beast of the forest is Mine, The cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains, and everything that moves in the field is Mine. If I were hungry I would not tell you, For the world is Mine, and all it contains."
And in Haggai 2:8, "'The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine,' declares the Lord of hosts."

So it all belongs to God, and I have been given the privilege of taking care of His belongings. Even if no one else really cares whether or not I balance my checkbook, God does. The attitude of my heart is the issue. It doesn't require calculus or even division to be able to balance my checkbook, but I have developed a bad habit that I have become comfortable with. “Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.”

He commands in Proverbs, "Know well the condition of your flocks, and pay attention to your herds; for riches are not forever, nor does a crown endure to all generations." (27:23-24)

So the buck stops here. This year, as we work on our financial goals to pay off our debts as quickly as possible, I have as a goal to balance the checkbook every month and carry the balance down as I go. It's a small change that won't be noticed by the people to whom I write checks or who read this blog, but it is an exercise in faithfulness and diligence on my part that will be noticed by the Owner of it all.

How about you? Are there areas of your life that you know need to change, and you have been unwilling to face them? Maybe you balance your checkbook and clean your house regularly, but you watch TV shows or movies that you know you shouldn't. Perhaps its your tendency to feel entitled to your selfish desires, whether it be to eat whatever you want, or to hold a grudge, or to break the posted speed limit. Well...

Out with the old! Let’s not take it lightly any more! Let’s do battle with our sin. Let’s go to war against those bad habits in our lives that drain us and essentially cripple us from truly glorifying God. I, for one, know I need to change in some areas, and this year on this blog I’ll be writing about some of them.

And my hope is that as I become faithful with the things God has entrusted to me, that He would be pleased and that others would glorify Him as a result.

Happy New Year!

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