My 2013 New Year's Resolution
Like many of you, the prospect of a New Year always excites me. I especially appreciate any opportunity to start fresh and resolve to do a few things different. Many of you will make New Year's Resolutions, and I’d like to take this opportunity to share one of my own in hopes that it will inspire you to do likewise. In 2013, I plan to eat healthier and get a little more exercise. Come April, I will have a new reason to keep myself in shape: my son Daniel Isaac will be born and change mine and Sara’s lives forever. I also plan to read more and watch less television (Duck Dynasty excepting).
But more than anything: I Want to Take Sin More Seriously.
Not only in my own life (more on that in a future post), but in the lives of others. I also want to encourage you, push you, annoy you, and urge you to do the same.
You see, someone very dear to me has recently turned their back on Jesus and his church. It brought me to tears. I was at a loss as to what to say. I was humbled at the knowledge that I did not do all that I could have to prevent it. That’s as specific as I’m wiling to be on a platform such as this. But the experience reminded me that, for many of us (myself included), our priorities are often skewed.
Read through any church bulletin, or listen to the announcements from any pulpit, and you would think that our deepest, darkest problem was not sin, but sickness. Cancer, not transgression. That bothers me. Even as a minister, I can get caught up in ministering to those who are suffering and ailing physically. It makes my heart ache to see once vibrant bodies now wasting away due to illness. And don’t get me wrong: we should always empathize with the physically sick.
But every Christian must realize that sickness is not the worst-case scenario. Sin is. Cancer may ravage the body, but it is powerless against the soul. Heart disease may destroy our physical heart, but it cannot touch our spiritual heart, the one from which we love the Lord and other people.
Do you have someone in your life who is physically sick? There is nothing wrong with praying for their healing and asking others to do the same. But what of the spiritually sick? Those with vibrant heartbeats but dying souls? Are you prayerful for them? Have you asked others to pray? Why do most church bulletins list more names under “With Cancer” than under “Without Christ.”
If you are a minister, may I ask you to keep the spiritually sick before the minds of your brethren in 2013? If you are an elder, will you spend more time visiting the spiritually sick than the physical? Will you pray, publically and privately, for those who have no relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ? If you are a Christian, will you resolve to take sin more seriously in 2013?
This blog, first and foremost, is about my struggle to be more like Jesus. In what ways do you hope to be more like Jesus in 2013? Leave your comments below.
Heavenly Father, I repent. I ask your forgiveness. I have not taken sin as seriously in my life as I should have. Beginning today, not January 1st, I want to change that. I also have not grieved over it in the lives of my loved ones as I should. I repent of that as well. I pray that you will root sin out of my life. Ruthlessly and faithfully. Mercifully, root it out Lord. When it comes to challenging others to do the same, give me wisdom, courage, and grace. As for your church, give us fresh eyes. Help us to spotlight sin, not sickness, as our greatest enemy. Help us to weep more for those without Christ than those with Cancer. And in all things, may you receive greater glory in the New Year. In Jesus’ name.
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