Resolutions

Once again we have braved the holiday season and found ourselves on the other side, likely with a few extra gadgets and pounds to show for it. We’ve made it all the way through 2016 and are starting fresh with 2017. This time of year is infamous for its glut of New Year’s resolutions. We’ve all made them. Maybe it’s to lose those extra pounds gained from a two-month-long feasting season, to spend more time with loved ones, or maybe just to be an all-around better person. The sad thing about New Year’s resolutions, though, is that their infamy lies not in their creation, but in their abandonment, which usually happens around February or March. Maybe it’s time for a different kind of resolution.
As a Christian, I’d like my New Year’s resolution to be to do the work of God. But if I don’t want it to end up in the resolution bone yard, I have to ask myself what does that look like? John tells us the story of a group of people asking that very same question to Jesus. The crowd that inevitably followed Jesus everywhere he went asked him, “How can we do the works of God, too?” There it is: the very question we are seeking the answer for. Jesus was about to boil down the entirety of the work of God to his disciples. And this was it:  “Jesus told them, ‘This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.’” (John 6:29)
Wait a minute, we say. That’s it? Belief? Too easy! Yes, it might seem crazy, but God isn’t really all that interested in your striving and working and earning and resolving. He’s interested in you believing what he said was true. Don’t get me wrong, when we believe, truly believe, what God has said and in the Son he sent, we naturally start doing certain things that line up with his teaching. But too often we dive head first into the doing because we can’t quite believe that the believing could really be most important.
It is. It’s the belief in Him – the belief in His Word – that makes the lasting change in our lives. It’s where we understand what this Jesus-man is all about and, after understanding, completely sell out to his plan for the world! Active belief allows every word spoken by the Word to bathe your soul in truth. The by-product is a natural outpouring of all the things God wants anyway. When we truly believe God cares for us more than the swallow or the lily, we are free to give our money to the poor, because God is our provider. When we fully believe that he forgave those who nailed him to a cross, we can easily forgive the far smaller debts our neighbor owes us. And when we fully grasp the depth of our Father’s love for us, loving others is no trial. Out of the soil of faith naturally grows the fruits we are toiling so hard to produce ourselves.
So for this New Year, my resolution is to believe. To give myself a break from all the working and simply spend time at the feet of Jesus. Instead of trying to make the water solid through sheer will power, I will humbly keep my eyes fixed on him and off of the waves of my own inadequacies. When looking to Jesus, walking on water will just be a given.

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