Time for Transformation: One Resolution
Well firstly, Happy New Year! It's 2017 and, let's be honest, it can't be worse than 2016. As I write this, there are only a few days left in the year and I haven't written any new year resolutions. In fact, I'm only planning to write one. You'll have to keep reading to find out what! I've always written quite a few in past years – I bet yours were something similar?
Read more novels, pray more, stick to quiet time, go to church every week, stay in touch with people, do more exercise, give more money to church, eat more vegetables…
If we think of the fruits of the Spirit and the promises God has made us to be conformed to the image of His Son day by day (Rom 8:29), the Son who is the embodiment of all good fruits, it looks like this is a pretty solid resolution list. Self-control, love, kindness, faithfulness... I can be confident in my prayers that God will help me to grow in these areas over 2017. However, can I be confident that he will do that through a regimented quiet time, church donations or my phone bill?
Knowing the destination of our transformation does not enable us to see the path there.
There are many wonderful things we pray for at the start of the year, which are not wrong to pray for. But it can be disheartening, if not pretty scary, if the path we thought we could see takes an unexpected turn and our prayer requests seem long forgotten.
Is your 2017 looking pretty busy? Are you a lover of lists...a master of multitasking...an aficionado of achievement...Would your heart do a little leap for joy if you heard someone say about you "How does she do it all?" What would your resolution prayer be? 'God, please help me with time management. I have so much to do and I want to be with the people I love and spend time with You also. Please help me to glorify you by working hard to be the best [insert career title, wife, mum or friend] I can be.'
What if your 2017 is an open road? You love to travel, mission trips are your hobby, you've always got time spare to meet with people, or just be with God. You're what some would call a free spirit. Would you heart do a little leap for joy if you heard someone say about you "She's so brave!"? Think about your resolution prayer - 'God, please enable me to travel to whatever country you would have me serve in. Please keep my plans open and time un-managed so that I can serve you wherever and whenever you call me.’
Those are some good prayers, aren't they? Both women have rightly identified the end goal. They both want to be an inspirational, servant-hearted woman who glorifies God in everything she does. But both women have also chosen their path. Perhaps God has planned for Ms.HowDoesSheDoItAll? to be more free this year, to get worse at time planning and be more spontaneous in the ways she loves God and neighbour. Perhaps God has planned for Ms.She'sSoBrave! to have a more regimented lifestyle, to discover a talent and pursue a career or start a family, glorifying God in the workplace and home.
The fun and terrifying thing about our lives, is not knowing what God has planned for us. We know the end result but we don't know the particular route there. So my one resolution this year is to be open for change where I would least expect it.
But that’s not all of it. I often find that when we select the parts of our lives we would like God to change this year, we choose the parts we're not happy with. Time…Diet…Money… It is a glorious evidence of our ongoing sanctification that we want to please and glorify God, but praying for change in areas we're not attached to isn't that scary.
What about the parts that you're comfortable with? What areas of your life would really unsettle you if they were changed? We are called to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice to God, laying down all the parts of our lives to be transformed (Rom 12:1). Yet, all too often, we offer up only the parts of our lives we are willing to be transformed.What would it look like for you to lay down the areas of your life that never make it onto the resolutions list? The areas that you've grown accustomed to, maybe even dependent on.
What would it look like for you to have this same resolution: To be open for change where I would least expect or want it.
2017 is the time for transformation and our God is in the business of changing us. All we need to pray for is that we would grow in the fruits of the Spirit, in love of God and neighbour, and in the ways we glorify God in our lives. Lay your whole lives down and leave the specifics up to Him whose ways are too wonderful…too lofty for us to attain (Psalm 139:6).
Originally from Cambridge, Abby graduated in Psychology from Sheffield University. After spending some time in the States studying biblical counselling with CCEF, Abby is hoping to pursue a doctorate in Clinical Psychology! After becoming a Christian at 20 years old, she has loved getting more involved with More Precious ever since and seeing the fruit of its ministry!