This New Year of 2010 brings lots of things into clarity for me. (Ironically, eye doctors consider 20/10 vision even clearer than 20/20 vision). I can reflect back upon 2009 and this time provides a kind of fresh start, a “re-set button” that can be pushed for the fresh New Year.
The problem I have had in the past with New Year’s resolutions and sayings like “today is the first day of the rest of your life” is basically this kind of thinking doesn’t really work. It doesn’t do anything for me other than reinforce that my self-effort and will power are pitifully weak in bringing about any lasting change. It is usually only a matter of time before the “resolve” part of my resolution fails. That is why I am increasingly seeing the importance of looking at my life “cross-eyed.”
How does this work practically? In my nitty-gritty relating with my wife and kids, where I can easily become harsh, critical and unforgiving, I need to apply the cross. I can’t change bad habits through mere will power, but I CAN through Christ-power, His life in me exchanged at the cross, the “not I but Christ” life.
Also, I don’t need to hold onto my guilt or grudges. My favorite devotional writer, Chris Tiegreen puts it this way, “Imagine winning a billion-dollar lottery and getting all steamed up about a 10 cent short change at a convenience store. That’s a monetary image of our spiritual outrage (when we hold grudges).”
When it comes to looking at my past mistakes, failures, inconsistencies and compromises with evil I don’t need to allow them to define me. I need to LEARN from my past but I don't need to be DEFINED by it. That same devotional writer says, “…You are not shaped by your history contrary to what psychiatrists have preached. You are shaped by your destiny. You are a child of God with an eternal inheritance.”
As I launch into future opportunities and challenges I don’t need to avoid embracing the crosses that the Lord has chosen for me to carry as His follower, whatever they may be. I can live with risk and adventure because I know at my core, because of my Savior’s cross, I am deeply loved by the Heavenly Father. As a beloved son I don’t need to live any longer in fear, anxiety, insecurity (or that dreaded “f” word, failure!) I can face the future with a “holy recklessness.” I can be like that 20-year-old fallen soldier from Afghanistan whom I heard quoted to say before his death, “My prayer is that I stay in harm’s way because if I am not, then I am not doing my job here.”
By looking at 2010 cross-eyed, I can move into the year with the joyful confidence of Charles Wesley, who said, “O for a heart to praise my God, a heart to praise my God, a heart from sin set free; a heart that always feels Thy blood so freely shed for me.”
So what is my “cross-eyed vision” for the New Year? I choose to see my past, present and future and all of my relationships with the cross of Christ clearly in the foreground, framing and re-defining all of my “reality.”
The cross and the resurrection of Christ is the key to staying in right relationships with my loved ones. It is the key to not being burdened by my past or paralyzed by fears of my unknown future. It is the key to keeping joyful when there is much depressing news hitting us each day from every side. It is the key to boldly going forth to do His will this year with fresh enthusiasm, joy and zeal that comes from the One who was pleased to freely relinquish His Son at the cross and raise Him up for each one of us, The Father Himself.
“Christ has turned all our sunsets into dawns.” – Clement of Alexandria
Simply Seeking To Follow Him More Closely This Year,
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