I think I’m probably a lot like you. When it comes to New Year’s Resolutions I just can’t help myself, even though I have years of experience failing. So once again I’ve crafted a list for 2017 of things I want to stop, do more often and start. And, no, I’m not going to share it with you so that when I break them, I won’t have to deal with what I think you think of me. But there is one resolution I am going to share. In fact, I’m also going to urge you to adopt it. That’s to make God’s amazing grace the heart and soul of your life. This is not something you do for a few minutes in the morning during your quiet time or Sundays at church. It’s real life all the time. And here’s how it works. When you’re down on yourself, rest in it. When you are stuck in a not-so-good place, let it change you. And when you get too caught up in yourself, let it fill you with God’s vision for your life. After all, this resolution is not just for a new year, it’s for eternity.
God has created a universe so vast you can never begin to imagine it – yet God loves you as if you’re the only person in the entire universe. God watches as you turn away, hurt others and fail to be the person God has created you to be – yet God loves you unceasingly and eternally. God is all-powerful – yet God seeks to serve you day-in and day-out. So how do you make sense of this kind of God? You don’t because you can’t. But that’s okay. Because it doesn’t matter nearly as much whether you fully comprehend God as it does whether you open your life to God, invite God to dwell in you, and let the ‘Unknown Known’ mold, fill and use you. Doing this may seem difficult. Perhaps even impossible. But it’s not. Because it’s simply what God has created you to do.
2016 is almost over, which inevitably leads you to reflect on what has taken place. Our world was a whirlwind; sometimes invigorating, but more often frightening and overwhelming. Likewise, your life was filled with peaks and valleys, including some that may have fundamentally changed you forever. But the closing out of year is not just about what has been, it also prompts you to look ahead to 2017. Certainly, you are thinking about what you can accomplish, how you can fulfill your dreams and what you can do to become financially secure. Hopefully, however, you are also pondering other things: following that passion God has put in your heart, loving your family, living more faithfully as a disciple of Jesus and growing in your generosity towards others. The reason for this is simple. Doing what matters most is what matters most.
Many things work together to craft you into the unique individual you are. You have nothing to do with some of them – like your genetic makeup. You are the recipient of others – like the fact that life sometimes just happens. And you are responsible for still others – like choices you make. In the midst of all of this, you’re working hard to be the best you that you can possibly be. But ultimately, you cannot do it on your own. That’s because you are created by God, cherished by God and ironically can only truly be you when you allow God to fill you with grace, transform you from the inside-out and lead you through life. You make think you may lose yourself in the process. But nothing could be farther from the truth. For as Jesus showed, it is only in losing yourself that you can truly find yourself – your best self – in the palm of God’s hand.
If the truth be known, sometimes you feel so powerless that you’re convinced you don’t have any choice but to accept what happens to you because you feel absolutely powerless in the face of life that threatens to overwhelm you. Well, you’re wrong! That’s because you can always choose God who always changes things. But don’t expect God to swoop in and do exactly what you want. Instead, get ready to experience the power of God’s love that enters into every crack and crevice of your life, brings ultimate healing, and transforms your soul and actions. When this happens – which it will – you’ll still have tough days, struggles and setbacks. But you’ll also experience a brand new reality – God’s reality. So choose God. Choose God with all your heart. Choose God when it’s easy. Choose God when it’s hard. But most importantly, choose God starting right now.