It’s officially the New Year and with the rolling of the calendar, most of us have made some well-intentioned resolutions.
One of my more regular resolutions (read: year after year, regardless of whether it actually happens) is that I will run/work out more and lose some weight. Of course, some years I am more successful at this than others. Some years, I eat better/healthy meals and run, and my weight goes down. Other years, I succumb to the irresistible pull of the ice cream in our freezer and remain a bit more “stocky” or “thick” (as my wife and son politely say) as the year progresses.
I’m almost convinced that the ice cream and candy at the grocery store that scream out, “I’m delicious; eat me!” before jumping into my grocery cart, are conspiring with or are the work of the enemy … but that’s a story for another time.
As we visit with friends at church, work and around town, I’m reminded that in regard to our spiritual life, there are many of us who resolve to spend more time in the Bible and give more sacrificially, especially with the rolling of the calendar.
In other words, this is the perfect time of year — for those of us who believe that our faith is one of action — for us to examine those very questions: Am I spending enough time daily or weekly in God’s word? Am I faithful in my attendance and service to my church? Am I giving of my tithes and offerings to the Body of Christ first, as I should be?
While the questions are as old as Christianity itself (older, actually), they are questions most of us ask as seekers. And we ask because, as we attempt to follow Christ, we rightfully ask how we can serve him better, realizing that we all answer to him one day (Romans 14:10-12).
But as we begin this year and start fresh, another realization should cross our minds. That thought is that we are “not saved by works, lest any man should boast,” but instead are saved by grace. It’s a grace we didn’t deserve and couldn’t have possibly earned.
So while we resolve to put Christ first this year, may we remember that it begins with our heart, long before our hands. As the Casting Crown lyrics note, “All he ever wanted was my heart.”
Christopher Dixon is the Chief Operating Officer of eLectio Publishing (electiopublishing.com) and the pastor of West Finley Baptist Church near Fordland, Mo.