Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does. – James 1:22-25
It’s that time of year again…time for resolutions. The tradition has been around for some time now, and there are a handful that are recurring standbys: lose weight, find true love, quit something, finish something or try something. Every year the statistics come out on how many people fail in their resolutions, or how soon they fail their resolutions and yet we keep making resolutions.
James is clear that this failure to follow through is an indicator of where we are as a people. We have become as a society the man who forgets what he looks like. En masse we make our resolutions, clearly seeing what our life would look like if we followed through, but we turn away and become distracted, discouraged and deflated – we forget what it looked like to succeed.
When this happens, we begin to make excuses, rationales for not getting to where we wanted to go. We can even convince ourselves that we didn’t really say that we were going to lose so much weight or watch that much less TV. We are self-deceived.
God calls us to a different level of resolution. In the world of music, the word resolve refers to the progression from dissonance to consonance, from disharmony to harmony. When hear without doing, when we look in the mirror, but don’t remember, we are in disharmony. This requires resolve. Resolutions should be about harmony, but too often they are based on a worldly view of success or attractiveness. We strive after what will only bring more discord.
Maybe instead of a resolution to lose weight you can pursue resolve in being a good steward of God’s temple. (Note to self: good resolution) The idea is to look at areas where disharmony exists and be resolved to pursue harmony. Thankfully we have a mirror that shows us exactly where we are at, where we can be and how we get from one to the other. So make some different resolutions this year, but don’t forget to look in the mirror of God’s law, His word, to help keep you on track.
Faith to believe we can change with His help and the resolve to work toward what we believe – a harmonious approach to the new year.