Still, as far as I’m concerned, if I make some commitments, I know I will keep some of them, at least for a season.
- Randall Murphree
Yes, I would love to order some changes to make my life easier. I don’t exactly want to be younger, but every day I do wish my dentist could install a shiny new set of perfect teeth to replace my dentures. Sometimes I wish my barber could plant seeds to grow a winter crop of black hair like that which once covered this old bald head. I wish there was a body builder’s physique that I could find online to replace this thin, aging frame. And perfect vision – what a dream that would be!
Ironically, while I think I’d love to have some changes in my personal world, I struggle to survive and thrive in a world where change seems to come too quickly on many fronts. On television, on the Internet, and in magazines and newspapers, I’m reminded many times every day of a fast-paced, changing world that sometimes leaves me overwhelmed.
A changing me
Since I’ve dived into the subject, my conscience requires that I also consider another angle on change. There’s a lot going on in my life where I am the only one responsible to initiate much needed change. Confession time: My daily walk with the Lord is too often inconsistent. I wouldn’t like the picture if it were charted on a graph. My time in His Word follows a similar path. And my prayer life is the same. Maybe this is where I need to be more focused – dealing with changes that will improve my spiritual life, and not fussing over those things that are inevitable or of little eternal significance.
Recently, I received my current issue of Christian History magazine, and the cover teaser reads, “25 writings that changed the church and the world.” Editors asked more than 70 past writers for the magazine to identify the most influential writings from Christian history, after the Bible itself.
There are a lot of familiar names there. Augustine (His Confessions captured #1.), Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, Martin Luther and others followed. It’s an all-star line-up of men and women who changed the world for the better by spreading the Christian faith far and wide. Unfortunately, I know a lot of the names, but hardly know their works at all. It’s more than a little embarrassing for an English major and one who calls himself committed to his faith. On the other hand, a few of the 25 titles have appeared on my reading list through the years – John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity, and John Wesley’s A Plain Account of Christian Perfection.
An unchanging God
But the evidence is in. I’m guilty of neglecting my faith journey, and there’s no one to blame but me. I’m one who is always drawn to the idea of New Year’s resolutions, even knowing that I often won’t keep them, at least not very well. But I refuse to take the easy way out, as some of my friends do when they say, “Well, I know I can’t keep them, so I just don’t make New Year’s resolutions.”
Still, as far as I’m concerned, if I make some commitments, I know I will keep some of them, at least for a season. And even if I don’t complete the project next year, or if I don’t maintain the spiritual disciplines through the whole year, at least I will begin! And who knows? Maybe by the grace of an unchanging God, I’ll grow a little, be a little more faithful, see a little change in myself.
Based on my years of experience, I believe New Year’s resolutions (even unkept ones) do one main thing for me. They remind me that despite my fickle nature, my bent toward changing as the wind blows, I have an unchanging God.
That’s what we must have if life is to be of value to us, to our families, to our churches, to our world, to His kingdom. An unchanging God. I recently discovered a song by that title – “Unchanging God” by Elevation Worship.
The chorus includes these lyrics: “You won’t fade away / You never change / You’re unchanging God.”
That’s enough to give me hope. Because He is unchanging, I can still grow and change.
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