Posts Tagged ‘abundant life’

“You shall not go out with haste,…”

As a culture we customarily equate New Years with resolutions. We resolve to eat better, exercise more, spend more prudently, improve the important relationships in our lives and generally begin with high expectations for a better existence than we have experienced before. Unfortunately most of this resolve gives way as the New Year progresses and we often find that life resembles the failures of the past and we begin to settle for the old anthem of “things are what they are”.  Perhaps our well intentioned desires for change are grounded more in the symptoms that we desire to treat rather than the root causes of our behavior. Perhaps there is something deeper in our nature that needs to change before our will to change can have the power it needs to survive.

tn_cake20121There is a reason that most cash registers in most stores are surrounded by candy bars and other gimmicky items. This marketing strategy relies upon the customer’s impulsive behavior. Impulse spending is nothing new to our society. It extends far beyond candy bars into more serious ventures such a car purchases, home purchases and daily spending habits. In the land of easy credit, self-gratification reigns and we are often tempted toward the indulgence of the moment. Such decisions are based upon a mental satisfaction created in our minds when we are confronted with our desires. However, we soon find that the reality doesn’t quite equal the expectation and we may have created financial burdens that far exceed the enjoyment of the moment. We all desire to feel successful and relevant. Many of our decisions are designed to promote and fill these needs and desires in our lives. The candy bar may be our way of rewarding ourselves on the spot while the larger ventures are meant to make us feel better for a longer period of time. So how do we know what choices are good for us and which ones may be more destructive?

Resolution number one for Christians should be for more ardent prayer and reflection. If we truly want to see lasting change in our lives we need to go to the source of our power. Jesus said He came to give us life, an abundant life. In order for us to receive this life we need Him to truly be the Lord of our lives. We need to develop the ability to listen and follow as God speaks to us through His word and his Holy Spirit. In Isaiah 52:12 we are told, “You shall not go out in haste,…”. This would clearly put an end to impulsive behavior. Let me be clear, I am not suggesting that you hold up the line in the supermarket while you drop to you knees and ask for God’s direction as to the purchase of a Snickers bar. What I am suggesting is that we need to seek God’s intervention in our lives well before we find ourselves in the moment of trial. The verse goes on to tell us “for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard”. He will provide the strength necessary for overcoming self-indulgent desires and to protect us from the mistakes of the past.

Our need is not what He can do for us. Our need is for Him personally! Being a Christian means having a relationship with Christ. We are to be totally dependent upon Him and trusting Him to deliver us from ourselves in moments of weakness and temptation. It doesn’t work well for us to begin developing that relationship in the moment of concern rather we need to build that relationship daily in times of prayer, devotional study and submission. Even Jesus spent a year of preparation before going out to minister. We need to develop this discipline now before we can grow in His peace and power.