I have studiously avoided falling into the New Year’s Resolutions trap for all of my adult life. I’ve seen too many failed diets, too many failed self-improvement promises over the years, and rather than set myself up for inevitable failure, I have simply avoided disappointment through disengagement.
But this year I’ve given in, surrendered to temptation. I’m joining the masses, marching to the drumbeat of convention. I’m making my first-ever resolutions at the start of a new year. And so, on this January 1, 2013 I hereby establish as my determined objective to:
By that I mean that I resolve this year that by the efforts of the flesh, by my own mind, in and of my own self I will know nothing. With Paul the apostle, I am “determined to know nothing”…”except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). The obvious inference leads us to Paul’s letter to the Phillipian church, “I count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord…” (Phil. 3:8).
Yes, God has given to each of us an intellect. Yes, God intends that we develop our intellectual potential to the best of our ability. But God never intends that we should trust in, lean on or place confidence in anything that can be naturally, physically or mentally known. That is to say, without Divine origin, our feeble and paltry attempts at gaining knowledge is of miniscule value, because “the fear of The Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Prov. 1:7).
All I know, all I can know of and by myself and without the enlightenment of the Source of all knowledge, Paul tells us is “rubbish” (Phil. 3:8). Paul insists in 1 Corinthians (8:1) that “knowledge puffs up, but love edifies.”
This “puffed up” is what psychologists describe as ego, the tendency towards arrogance; ugly, earthy pride. Paul continues, “if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know” (8:2).
Further, as we begin this New Year I resolve to:
I want to experience a year wherein I consciously, daily, give ear to God and to His Holy Spirit. There are other voices, spirits that infuse our world and our lives with whispers of doubt, despair, unbelief, failure. I’ve heard those negative voices, and you’ve heard them too. For too many of us and for too long the voices of man and the voices of defeat have influenced us more than God’s voice has persuaded us. These voices whisper and sometimes they shout, but their effect is devastating whenever we “give ear” to them.
“He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches….” is repeated no less than eight times in the Book of the Revelation. We are implored by the Word of God to “hear” what the Spirit of God and not what man says. My prayer is for God to deafen me to the voices of the world and to tune my hearing to His still, small voice.
And I resolve in 2013 to…
Except what I hear from Him. Our mouths are prone to get us in more trouble than a run away horse or a rudderless ship in a stormy sea. Jesus, the Logos, the living Word of God explained, “I have not spoken of My own authority; (which authority Jesus not only possessed, but, literally “was”), but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak.” He said, “whatever I speak, just as the Father has told me, so I speak” (John12:49,50).
Idle words diminish. Foolish speculation evaporates. Worthless arguments cease when we speak those things we have heard in heavenly council.
Finally, I resolve in 2013 to:
“In me, that is in my flesh, there dwells no good thing” (Ro. 7:18). May I observe that far too many preachers, apostles, prophets, pastors, too many teachers and evangelists want to “be” something, to “be” somebody.
Somebody came from heaven, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. He came from the very throne of all existence and on this earth, “made Himself of no reputation.” I want to pause right here. “Of no reputation.”
Mr. Webster gives us:
a : overall quality or character as seen or judged by people in general
b : recognition by other people of some characteristic or ability.
“…made Himself….” Of His own accord, by His predetermined will, He became a servant, took a lowly place, the lowest of places that He might lift us to the highest of places.
If we can become nothing, Christ in us will make plain everything that should be made plain. He will be in us, literally “the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27).
When we are young, when we are in Elementary school, we want to “be” something. Whether it’s a desire to be a fireman or a beauty queen, we want to “be” something. As we grow, the need to “be” tends towards a need to “do.” And yet, in the kingdom of God, the only effective “doing” is done by God Himself, God in flesh, God in Christ. Neither “be-ers” or doers find any use in kingdom practice. The amazing truth, however is that if we can become nothing, He becomes everything. If we will do nothing, we may “stand and see the salvation of The Lord.”
Jehoshaphat understood it: a mighty army approached, dwarfing the army of the people of God. The secret to victory was in recognition of true power. The confession is made, “we have no power against this great multitude, nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You” (2 Chron. 20:12). Being nothing, but focusing on Him, keeping our eyes upon Him guarantees us an abiding joy and a final victory. It truly is not by might, nor by power, but by the Spirit of God that any good thing is accomplished in, through or by us.
“When I am weak” – when I am nothing – then “He is strong,” He is everything. I want to become nothing in 2013 so He might be, in me, everything. I know this: I cannot achieve or accomplish even one of these resolutions in myself, by my power, through my determination. If I could accomplish any of these, I would not need God. But I cannot, and only He can. So I give all my resolutions to the King and trust that as I submit to Him, He will do what no other power can do. If I’m going to know, hear, say, be nothing, He’s got to be in me, everything.
Happy New Year! (and here’s hoping you do well with your resolutions!)