Resolutions for 2013…Made Simple

Understanding what God expects from you this coming year

And what does the LORD require of you, but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

~Micah 6:8

When I used to work as a physical trainer at a local gym, my boss assured the entire training staff toward the end of the year to prepare for a sudden increase in business and clientele as January would roll around. The reason being: people tend to make resolutions to get in better physical shape at the beginning of every year, and so tend to sign up for personal training sessions (though they also tended to drop out of the programs in March). Such is a slice of a larger pie of reality that people tend to make all sorts of resolutions at the dawning of every new year – with the desire to “clean up” their lives and press the re-start button so as to start the year with a clean slate. I’m no exception; I already made over eighty resolutions for this year. And yet, the more and more I think about what it is that God desires from me in 2013, the more I realize that there is simplicity to His call – one that is far more streamlined. In the past, I’ve had a tendency to make resolutions regarding what I personally want to see myself accomplish. But, the more I grow as a believer, the more I realize that the question to ask is: What does God want from this year? It’s not about what I want for myself, but rather about what He wants from me. He is sovereign, which means that the twists, turns, and trials that my family and I will experience are ultimately not under my control. God does call me to pursue not circumstantial changes or an external performance of types, but rather a specific posture of the heart. Busyness and complexity in living (different from diligence and wisdom) is not what God desires from men. He, again, wants something much simpler. And one can see it in Micah 6:8

And what does the LORD require of you, but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

With the words of this verse in mind, my eighty-plus new year’s resolutions for 2013 have been distilled to three. Consider these to be yours as well, as the Bible speaks the same truth principles to all of the saints.

1. With integrity, I will do as He does (to do justice…).

God calls me to do justice – to be upright in all that I do, say, and stand behind. Justice and righteousness are juxtaposed with wicked perversion and hypocrisy. In other words, He calls for me to be resolute in my pursuit of righteousness in character, amidst the ever-rowing pressures to compromise. He calls for His people, in the midst of a whirlwind of temptations and pressure to cave in, to be unwavering in the pursuit His precepts. To do what is just is to have all my actions under conformity and submission to His laws. It is to stay within the parameters of the Scriptures. To be resolved to do whatever it is God says to do. This resolution is hard, but not complicated: Read His Word and do as it says.

2. With sincerity, I will love how He loves (to love kindness…)

Human resolutions tend to focus on the externals – in maintaining programs and increasing performances in various areas. It’s far rarer to see heart resolutions – resolutions that may have external manifestations, but are directed to the part of a man that others cannot see. Yet, what God is searching for is a proper heart – a heart that is passionate about the way God shows compassion, mercy, and grace. God doesn’t call for the believer here simply to practice kindness; He calls for him to love it. There is a sincerity of heart that He desires for His people to have toward others. He desires for those who follow Him to be passionate about showing mercy and grace toward those in need. In an age where pastors and leaders are often evaluated by talent and charisma, it is crucial to remember this year that God looks at a man’s heartbeat, to see if it beats with the same wavelength toward people as His. Let it be, this year that I resolve to learn to love how God loves.

3. With humility, I will walk where He walks (to walk humbly with your God)

The American mentality is, “with pride, walk independently.” We have all sorts of desires regarding where we want to be in life – to reach particular “milestones,” some of which we hope to attain this year in particular. But the God of the universe – the Creator and Sustainer of all things – opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble. Search the Scriptures carefully, and see that those who found favor with God were those who, for the most part, were so wonderfully ordinary in the eyes of men. But they walked with God, and did so with humility. Many resolutions stem from the motive to gain esteem from men. Many resolutions stem from the desire to walk ahead of peers. And yet, the man who God desires is the man who stands low, who knows nowhere to go except where he finds his God walking. I am to resolve, then, to walk wherever He walks, to follow His lead at all times, and to pursue humility of mind that shows the world that I truly recognize the greatness and magnificence of the God I worship.

So make this year count by simplifying it. For God looks for such a simple man, who patterns his ways, tunes his heart, and directs his walk after Him alone.

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