31 December 2007

New Year's Resolutions and Striving.

I have never kept a single resolution I have made. I think that I fail for several reasons, not the least of which is the fact that I haven't any discipline. Discipline, ugh... the "D" word. I know that discipline is important because the Bible says so.

Prov 12:1 Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.
Prov 13:18 Poverty and shame {will come} to him who neglects discipline, but he who regards reproof will be honored.
Prov 15:10 Stern discipline is for him who forsakes the way; He who hates reproof will die.

I know that discipline is important and yet I yield to my flesh and ignore the warnings. Then, in a burst of energy fueled by guilt I will suddenly decide that my undisciplined life must end. At that point I generally set the bar far too high and aim for perfection. I set myself up to fail because there is a payoff in failing. I get to stop when I spoil what could have been a perfect record. That's my pattern; I set a goal, fail to reach it just once and then allow myself to give up. So, why do I make resolutions in the first place? Because it's the right thing to do, isn't it?

Actually, I think it is dangerous to my soul to continue making resolutions I don't keep. Each time I allow myself to give up, I am yielding to my flesh. Yikes! Nothing good ever comes from yielding to the flesh.

Gal 5:19-21
19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,
20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,
21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

If you can identify with me, I strongly encourage you to listen to this sermon from John Piper. It's something that I found both encouraging and convicting. As for me, what am I going to resolve to do? I resolve to meditate on this:

Rom 7:18-25
18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the wishing is present in me, but the doing of the good {is} not.
19 For the good that I wish, I do not do; but I practice the very evil that I do not wish.
20 But if I am doing the very thing I do not wish, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.
21 I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wishes to do good.
22 For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man,
23 but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.
24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?
25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.

Rom 8:1-2
1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

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