There’s Only One Resolution You Need To Make

2016

That time of year is upon us again, the time when we get all sentimental about the year that was and all hopeful about the one that will be. We’re a little older (definitely), a little wiser (maybe), a little fatter (probably), and a little bit more resilient (hopefully). And, for many of us, it’s time to begin that process of looking ahead over the next 12 months and thinking about where we want to be in life, and what changes we need to make to get there.

I’m a goal-oriented kind of person. I’ve done the New Year’s Resolution thing before. For the past three or four years, I’ve laid out really specific goals: how many books I want to read, how much money I want to save, how many blog posts I want to write, how many dates I want to have with my wife, and so on. And, to be honest, it has been a really helpful exercise. I think that it has improved my productivity. I will likely trim down my list this year, but I still find value in putting a few targets out there to aim for over the course of the year. It helps to keep me focused and on point.

But I can also say that beyond a shadow of a doubt, there is really only one resolution that I need to make each year. One that automatically qualifies. One that is non-negotiable. One that, if I blow it in this area, the other ones don’t make up for it. One that is a life-or-death reality. One that comes out at the top of the priority list, no matter what it is compared to.

I need to spend time with God every day.

You know it. I know it. We just stink at it. We all deal with the same things. Life gets busy, our calendar gets jammed up with all sorts of “important” things, our days are crammed with a million things to do, and before you know it, we fall into bed exhausted from the day, just wanting a moment of peace and quiet before we doze off and do it all over again tomorrow.

This is suicide.

I don’t think that’s an overstatement. Jesus said in Matthew 4:4 (quoting Moses) ‘It is written,
“‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”‘

Question: Did you have time to eat today? Sure you did. Chances are you ate three meals today, plus snacks. Or maybe you had a crazy day and had to skip one. No difference really. The point is that you took time to nourish your body today. So did I. We do it every day, without fail. Unless we are stranded alone on a deserted island, or in extreme poverty, we always find a way to eat. It doesn’t even require habit; it’s just instinct.

This is how it should be with the Word of God. The Bible is food for the soul. Have you been feeling weak in your faith? It is because you are malnourished. Your soul needs a daily buffet to keep going at a proper pace, yet we all neglect such an important priority. The tyranny of the urgent takes over, God takes a back seat, and then we wonder why we fee like God is silent to us or, even worse, a fading reality.

A lack of holy bread can bring nothing but deterioration to our spiritual condition. Doubts growl loudly with starvation. Joy withers in waterless soil. Unforgiveness clings like cobwebs in a corner that hasn’t been swept in a while. Love sputters without fresh fuel for the tank. And we drift downstream when we don’t have the energy it takes to swim against the tide.

Spending time with God every day is the most important thing a believer can do. It affects all other areas of life for the better. We likely wouldn’t need to resolve to lose 30 pounds if we had been letting God satisfy us daily instead of comfort food. We likely wouldn’t need to resolve to get out of debt if we were so satisfied with Christ that we could say “no” to the sway of material things. We likely wouldn’t need to resolve to spend less time on our phones if we prioritized the love of neighbour that Jesus gives as the second command. We would be much healthier, happier, stable people if we just ate bread on a daily basis.

But it’s not just about eating bread. Sitting down for a brief nibble won’t suffice. Our time with God must be unhurried for it to have it’s due effect on us. Consider Psalm 1:

[1] Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
[2] but his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
[3] He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.

Meditation on God’s Word is put forth as the key to spiritual vitality. Meditation, in the biblical sense of the word, simply means to think deeply. It means to mull something over in your mind. It means that the goal is not just to read Scripture, but stay in it long enough for it to sink down to the bottom of our hearts. It means that we will spend time not just reading the Bible as if it’s a task to complete, but rather as if it is a pleasant conversation to have, a conversation with a dear Friend. As we read, we pray, we think, we re-read, we pray some more, we worship, we take enough time so that God has been given a proper place in the day. We eat a full meal. And if we make a habit of this on a daily basis, we will become strong, healthy Christians. Like the Psalm says, we will be like a tree planted by streams of water, a mighty oak that storms may bend but not break. Our roots will be sunk down deep and make us nearly impossible to upend. And our leaves will be green and lush, giving shade to others amidst the scorching heat of life.

I can say for certain that my own time with the Lord every day is the most important habit I have. I have not arrived at perfection. Some of my meals are mighty skimpy, and I miss one from time to time. But it is easily the most life-changing habit I’ve come across.

You need God. As the deer pants for water, so your soul pants for God. Deprive yourself no longer! Go to the table and eat. Kneel at the stream and drink. Commit this year to spending daily time with God, and just see what you may feel like and what you can do on a full stomach.

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