I’ve always been someone who made lists. Lists of things to do. Lists of things to not do. Lists of things that I was trying to change. With the New Year I made lists of things I resolved to change, about myself usually.
Then a few years ago I realized that these resolutions never really worked out the way I wanted them to. Studies show that nearly all New Year’s resolutions are abandoned by Feb 14th. I also realized that these resolutions and lists of things to change were nearly always born out of a sense of guilt, shame, or regret, not out of a sense of letting God work in me and through me, but out of a sense that I could fix me.
Have you ever noticed the self-help section in most bookstores is right next to the spiritual and religious section? I find that ironic myself. But I realized that when I was making lists of things to change I was doing it out of a sense of SELF help not Spiritual Growth.
After all one of the, if not the most, quoted verse in the Bible is
“God helps those who help themselves.”
Of course the problem is that isn’t in the Bible. It does feel like it belongs in there, and I can even show you some verses that you could infer mean this or something similar. But the problem is that it gets things backwards.
If this is right then it says that if we work on something, if we direct our will towards something, if we put forth energy and works and good deeds then God will step alongside us and help. It also means that we have to Earn God’s help. After all we value those around us who work hard, we value the qualities that this “verse: would seem to imply God rewards.
But here’s a problem. IF you work on something and it doesn’t happen, what do we do? We have to apply more effort, more will, more SELF to the equation. When in fact we should apply more God.
Spiritual Transformation is (in the words of Dallas Willard)
“the inescapable human problem with no human solution.”
This means that the solution isn’t more effort. It’s more God. We realize that God’s grace is our salvation but often mistake that our sanctification, our walk towards perfection, is all up to us.
So this year I’ve set no goals. I’ve set no resolutions. Instead I’ve prayed and thought and sought out God’s will. I’ve tried to identify ONE word that God has laid upon my heart to live out this year. This is an idea put forward by Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen from Port City Community church and in the Book [easyazon_link asin=”0310318777″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”focusintenc0b-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”default”]My One Word: Change Your Life With Just One Word[/easyazon_link].
Everything I do or don’t do this year will be focused on that one word and filtered through that one word. I’m not 100% sure what God means for me in the word I’ve picked. I’m quite certain that why I believe I picked it and why God had me pick it aren’t exactly the same. But I’m ok with that. I’m going to work hard because that’s who God made me to be, but I’m also going to realize that my hard work, my stumbles, my successes, none of that is what allows me to change, instead abiding in God’s transforming grace will.
If you have a “one word” please share it below. And if you’d like to know mine there is a hint in the image.
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