Ultimately it is up to you and me. I'm not so much a believer in resolutions (although I make them, but wait) as much as I am a believer in lifestyle changes (there you see). And while a lifestyle change can take place virtually anytime during a said year, the easiest and most convenient way to get a jump start and build motivation is to do it when the calendar turns. So how are you doing on those resolutions 10 days into the new year?
A lifestyle change requires a "shock" to the system of normalcy we create through our routine and mundane way of living. These "shocks" come in different shapes, sizes, and forms. The sweets eater gives them up because a doctor says that continuing eating sweets will result in higher blood pressure and ultimately a heart attack. SHOCK! The blue collar worker finds out his company is closing without much notice short of 5 years left until retirement. SHOCK! A spouse walks out on another spouse. Kids start high school. A new disease is discovered on a routine check up. A family member passes away. A new business opens. A new baby is born. A person's trusted medication ceases to exist. SHOCK! SHOCK! SHOCK! SHOCK! All of these things have a way of changing our reality and causing us to act differently and make decisions differently. But does it last?
One of the greatest "shocks" we can give to our system is a spiritual "shock." We invite Christ into our life. For those who are already living for the Lord, we embark on a devotional journey or begin seeking spiritual gifts. We make a commitment to be a better worshiper, to read the Bible more, pray more, and be more faithful to our local church. Unfortunately though past failures in these areas tend to negate forward progress and with each new attempt, the pressure of failed previous attempts weighs heavily.
The unfortunate thing is that these "shocks" which require an immediate lifestyle change and shift wear off. The doctor's words fades away as you find a way to eat sweets and control your blood pressure against his advice. The sting of the failed marriage fades with the introduction of a new potential mate weeks or months after the separation. The joy of the new salvation fades when temptation and guilt try to set in. The "shock" gets us ready to change, but commitment and determination cause the change to remain permanent.
What commitment do we need? In every case, the answer is that we commit ourselves wholly and fully to Christ. As a church, we entered a 21 day fast Sunday and in Day 2, I have no doubts that many are already struggling. Why? It's a "shock" to the system, but with steady commitment and determination, it becomes easier. A few started fasting last week as directed by the Lord but these names will not be revealed due to the nature of a fast and the reasoning behind it. Where as some are in Day 2. This is Day 9 for a few others. It requires commitment.
One other thing which is required is desperation. Our desperation will lead us to perspiration. In other words, we will work, and work hard, for the things we are most desperate for in life. We must view our walks with Christ desperately. We can't live without Him. The Apostle Paul said that it is in Christ that we live, move, and have our being. To understand to live life without Christ is not to live at all should cause us to seek Him desperately. The knowledge that there is a real enemy after our souls, our families, our communities, and nation should cause us to seek Him desperately. Unfortunately, desperation tends to set in many times when it's already too late.
It's the 10th day of the new year. Have you fell back into the doldrums of last year or is this year different? It can be. It should be. It will be if we'll allow the "shocks" of life to move us and our commitment, determination, and desperation for something new and greater to maintain us on the lifestyle change that we need. Make a lifestyle change today. More importantly make one for Christ. Covenant to know Him more this year; to serve Him more this year; to praise Him more this year; to give more to Him this year; to show Him more this year. All of these are possible if we're willing to make the necessary "tweaks" and changes that the "shocks" call for. Make this year different and start today for the first time or the tenth time. But start today.