I’m not much of a “New Years Resolution” person, mostly because when I see something I need to change, I don’t wait until the new year – I start procrastinating now.
But picking a time of the year to stop and evaluate yourself helps you grow, and that can only be a good thing. ’Tis the season, so here are some things we should all reach for in the next year.
I think many of America’s problems today, including those of the American church, originate in misplaced priorities. All of the wrong things are important to us. To that end, here are some ideas for changing our focus, our attitudes, and our priorities.
Read a good book about God. I’m convinced a great many of our problems come from an improper view of God. When we have a clearer picture of God, everything else comes into focus as well.
Pick up a good book about God you haven’t read or haven’t read in a long time. Some ideas: Knowing God, the Holiness of God, Your God is Too Small, the Existence and Attributes of God, Tozer on the Almighty God (has daily devotional format), or a good systematic theology.
A tip: If it makes Oprah’s list, pass.
There is so much need around us, both in the US and around the world, but it’s easy to miss it in our day-to-day slog from work to church to the grocery store to bed. Stop and take a look around you; see the pain in the lives of other human beings. It’s hard to narrow it down, but pick something and learn about it – e.g., the modern slave trade, Darfur, AIDS patients, the homeless.
Now do something.
There is so much filth in our culture that we can become numb to it, and that is part of the problem – we let it go or even encourage it. Christians, by and large, watch the same things non-Christians watch. Try to resensitize yourself to that. If there is a TV show or movie you watch (or want to) that you wouldn’t want your kids or grandkids to watch, abstain yourself.
Watch something else or, better yet, use the time to read a book, play a game with your kids, or go for a walk.
Much of the above problems are rooted in the simple fact that, though we don’t think much of God or neighbor, we think about ourselves quite a bit.
Step out of the light. Volunteer to do something that no one will notice – help clean up the church after the youth group meets or keep the nursery. Does your church send cards or other material to visitors? Stuff envelopes. Do the low profile jobs no one wants to do.
Better still, try to do something where no one will even know – eg, mow for a neighbor who’s in the hospital. You’ll want to tell someone you did it. Don’t.
The idea is to beat up your pride. Then kick it while it’s down.
The saying goes you can only change the world one person at a time. Well, I think I need to start with me. How about you?