I hope I’ve gotten to you in time.
If you’re under the influence (of the culture), you are probably feeling some pressure to come up with your version of the annual to-do list to upstage all former to-do lists: we call ‘em the obligatory “New Year’s Resolutions (NYRs).” Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year to “do better” (no evidence that it worked). Romans started their years with vows made to their god Janus (one of their many; they were polytheists, after all) to clean up their personal act in some specific way.
Polls say that Americans in the upper reaches of the socio-economic bell curve are more likely to declare resolutions than those less fortunate. “Goal setting” is meaningful banter at drop-the-ball parties that are long on toasts and short on substance. A government-sponsored survey last year found the three most frequent Resolutions: 1) Eat better; 2) Exercise more; and, 3) Spend less money. Any evidence – at the end of 2018 – that those widespread “commitments” produced any change?
We owe nothing to the Babylonian or Roman pantheons of pathetic divinities; we can – instead – tune in on the One True God as the only Deity worth impressing. He never asked us to make resolutions, but He did invite us to embrace a revolution: to bury our “old self,” and – instead – acquire the attributes of the New Self. That eternal you was birthed at the moment of your personal redemption, and will live forever in the presence of the forever Creator.
God lives in community: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He invited Adam and Eve into that intimacy… and asked so little from them to sustain that connection. One forbidden fruit: they opted-out at Eden, and left the legacy of anti-community into which all humans have been born.
The Father sent the Son to resolve the conflict that is the toxic deterrent to divine and human connection: the blood of Jesus is the antidote to sin, and through it we can become different: “you were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds;and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24). God has only authentic relationships: no facades or fakery allowed. What does it take to be “like God” and “be made new?”
The verses that follow are worthy of a quiet contemplation during this downtime week: you’ll find it in Ephesians 4:25-32 (click to see it). How do “old-selfers” become “new-selfers” in a way that demonstrates the powerful God-sized revolution made possible by Jesus?
That passage gives these quick instructions for lifetime vitality in the relationships that will stretch into the eternal horizon. Better than seven days with Dr. Phil, here’s Dr. Paul (writing under the direction of the Holy Spirit) on improving relationships:
- Build healthy relationships with honest conversations (vs 25)
- When you’re upset, either resolve it or retire it (vs 26-27)
- Be known for giving more than you take (vs 28)
- Use good words to build great people (vs 29)
- Constantly monitor your status with God-on-board (vs 30)
- Offload the residue of your old human self (vs 31)
- Upload the reflection of your new heavenly self (vs 32)
My advice: ditch the New Year’s Resolutions. They’re proven to be worthless. New approach: establish your New You Revolutions… and become even better at helping your relationships reach new heights in 2019! \\