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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Old Year's Thoughts

If the New Year is the time for making resolutions on how to improve, I wonder if New Year's Eve wouldn't be a good time to reflect on the last year. More to the point, I wonder if, in order to make useful, profitable, and viable resolutions, it might not be a good time to reflect on ... failures. If we are going to make resolutions to improve ourselves, shouldn't we first examine our shortcomings? And, look, we all know that "confession is good for the soul" or, if you prefer, we know that the Bible commands, "Confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed" (James 5:16). Therefore, in light of the biblical command, I'll start. You can go next.

I don't doubt that some of what I write appears to be finger-pointing. "You are doing this wrong and you need to correct that!" Some of it is actually pointed outward. The truth is that more of it is inward. I, for instance, do not have a problem with the sin of homosexual behavior. On the other hand, I can be ungrateful, unkind, combatitve, too friendly with the world, too set in my ways (as opposed to God's ways) ... lots of things I've pointed out in these articles. It's me, you see. It's me, O Lord, standing in the need of prayer.

But it's worse than that. The single command -- the big one, the one that forms all others -- is one in which I lack. I am to love God with all that I am and have and I tend to love so many other things. The ramifications are many, of course, but the most obvious is that I would also fail to love others as I should -- Command #2. It's me, O Lord, standing in the need of prayer.

I will continue to rail against the suppression of truth in ungodliness and unrighteousness. That problem rates up there with most anything else you'd care to name, a source problem. But I struggle with that problem myself. I don't tell myself the truth. I ignore the truth. Sometimes I find that I'm just way too close to the world, standing dangerously close to the warning of 1 John 2:15. Like so many, I struggle with the pain and death of the world, the sadness of those who "died too young", even the perplexity of eternal damnation. Why? Because I'm closer to the world than I am to God and His truth. Too often I am more conformed to the world than transformed in the mind.

You know, at some point I begin to realize that "a New Year's Resolution" isn't going to solve these problems. Perhaps I should just seek the Lord while He may be found. That, and walk by the Spirit, because "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit" (Gal 5:22-25).


Marshal Art said...

"The truth is that more of it is inward. I, for instance, do not have a problem with the sin of homosexual behavior."

Does this mean that you do not engage in the behavior or that you don't see it as sinful? I'm sure I know the answer, but the statement might be confusing to new readers.

Stan said...

Well, since the topic is confession, I would hope that it was obvious that I don't suffer from that particular sin (as opposed to the host of others with which I struggle).

Stan said...

(If I didn't think it was sin, I wouldn't refer to it as "the sin of".)

Marshal Art said...

Just checkin'. :D

Happy New Year!