The sugarplums have danced, presents are unwrapped (some even returned), trash cans are bulging along with our waistlines, and there are three days remaining in 2016. Now that we have finished our Christmas lists, most Americans turn to compiling a list of New Year's resolutions.
Is this among your annual rituals? Personally, I feel an odd tension regarding New Year's resolutions, which is strange because I am a big believer in lists. Maybe because I know the stats too well about how quickly we revert back (about three weeks) to our old ways or maybe I grow bored with a list that varies little from year to year, but regardless, of your own position on resolutions, there is no denying that when the calendar turns to January 1st we all have the sense of starting with a clean slate.
After taking a hiatus from making resolutions, I am rethinking the merits of such a list as well as my approach. Instead of asking what I want to accomplish this year I am asking how the concept of redemption informs my pursuits for 2017. What would be redemptive resolutions?
The Collaborative, and especially the Gotham program with its rich curriculum, challenge participants to look at life in light of redemption and not just the redemption of our souls for eternity but our lives for the here and now. This means that with salvation comes the responsibility to be like Christ, our redeemer. How am I a redeemer when I am broken and I live in a fallen world where many days feel like sin is winning? The Collaborative asks this question every day for the sake of cultural and economic renewal.
So let’s ask the question again, what are redemptive resolutions? This post is not going to attempt to answer this question comprehensively, but at some level these redemptive resolutions are about soul enrichment.
What are the things that would enlarge my soul this year?
I have no doubt if the three listed below were adopted, beyond the typical few weeks, my soul would have a greater capacity for living a life that reflects my redeemer and living a life that serves as a redemptive influence in my own sphere.
Resolution #1 Take in Beauty
A good friend adopted this resolution last year and it became a topic of discussion for the next twelve months. You might think that this means spending more time in art museums and for some that may be true. However, what I witnessed was an increased intentionally about being outside and taking in the beauty of God’s creation. She also sought out concerts and opportunities for cultural arts. There is not one right answer here, but rather the pursuit of beauty is a worthy effort.
Resolution #2 “Tune My Heart to Sing Thy Grace”
This is part of a verse from that familiar hymn “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” When I consider my own sin it is often directly tied to a lack of gratitude. When selfishness, entitlement, and jealousy raise their ugly heads, pausing and accounting for the grace that God has already rained down upon me is one way of snuffing out these wicked inclinations. Recognizing grace and praising God for every blessing tune my heart.
Resolution #3 Practice the Bigness of Humility
Many see humility as akin to weakness or one of those Christian virtues we are supposed to practice but have no idea how to do it, particularly if we reside in positions of leadership. The application of humility is immense, but breaking it down into smaller pieces may help. One area is to think of humility as it relates to learning. Being a life-long learner is one expression of humility. Practically speaking, this begins with the acceptance that I do not know everything. This has profound implications for how I read books, listen to speakers, receive instructions from a boss or client, and interact with I am reading, for a lecture I am listening to, for how I receive instructions from my boss, for how I interact with co-workers, etc.
Practicing the bigness of humility is a BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) and one that will not come easily, but if the Creator of the Universe can humble Himself by giving His only son so that my soul might be saved then the hard road ahead is the path I want to take.
These are just three but there are many, many more possibilities. Sometime over the next couple of days take the time to consider what redemptive resolutions you will strive to incorporate in 2017. May the coming year be filled with redemptive purpose as you seek to live faithfully for the glory of God.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Please send us your redemptive resolutions. We are eager to hear from you.