Things that I know from this New Year 2010 thing:
Any song by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons makes it a party.
There are still no good shows on TV this week.
I am going to have to work hard to switch over to the Mac that my husband bought me for Christmas, but it is SO COOL!
I need to look at the food pyramid again because I am pretty sure that fudge is not a food group represented therein.
I have not seen, “I want to be more intentional about repentance”, on anyone’s New Year’s resolutions.
Not that I blame anyone, of course. It is not on mine, but let me tell you what I do see. The Christian women who are making goals and resolutions are largely acclaiming the furtherance of the Spirit’s work in their lives. Losing weight, that is self-control. Increasing the intensity of devotional times is faithfulness.
(Here is a thought, what if we set one goal for each fruit of the Spirit? I just thought of that. Interesting method?)
I have found that when we intentionally seek fruit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) and allow it to be sown, ripened and picked through our lives, we feel more content and intentional about our lives.
So, this arbitrary mark, once a year, makes us stop and feel uncomfortable about the areas where fruity growth is lacking. I have no idea where this discomfort is the rest of the year. I must save it up.
The other source of discomfort is comparison. It is easy to compare ourselves to others and want what they have. This is not fruitful growth, though. It stems from fear, whether it is not feeling adequate or having a poor body image, etc. Donna Otto says, “Faithfulness and fear do not coexist”. That has proven true in my life.
Going back to the topic of repentance...Matthew 1:21 (NRSV), tells us, “She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
That is why Jesus came, to save us from our sin. He saved us from eternity apart from Him, and He saved us from lives without hope and purpose. We are driven to bear His fruit because He saved us from the alternative.
The Savior has claimed the object of His salvation.
This is where repentance becomes real. Repentance means changing one’s mind. It is a movement away from what is now understood as wrong, to right. The movement is the really the important part of it. My favorite understanding of repentance is from a wonderful friend who says, “Repentance is when you finally tell God that you agree with Him”. The object of His salvation moves into agreement with the Savior.
I read this verse last week and it has been playing out in my head ever since then.
Bear fruit worthy of repentance. (Matthew 3:8, NRSV)
Or, if you prefer…
Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. (Matthew 3:8, NIV)
The fruit that we bear needs to be worthy of repentance. Our fruit needs to be sown and grown and ripened in the field of repentance. This is the field watered with blood of Christ. It needs to be esteemed alongside the act of changing our mind and moving from what is wrong to what is right for us, and our homes.
Sounds a bit like making resolutions, doesn’t it? The thing that I have not done, while making my resolutions, is repent in the areas that I lacked last year. This verse tells me that it does not start with making more plans to bear fruit in 2010. It starts by pulling my heart in line with His. It starts by agreeing that, in some areas, I was not what I could have been last year. To be honest, there were moments that I simply wasted His time. The reason that I did not accomplish some of these things is my lackadaisical will. I was just lazy. I wasn’t alert. I agree with Him. That was my fault.
Repentance brings our minds in line with the Spirit of Christ, our comforter while He is away. Is it no wonder that fruit can only come from such a humbling act?
Thank you for sharing all of your resolutions for 2010. It has been wonderful to read them and see the places that God wants to grow fruit in your lives. I have read most of them, but I would love to see more. If you are doing resolutions, leave me a comment. I would love to visit.