All good wishes for 2014! As we turn the page and anticipate what may fill up our calendars in the next 12 months, we often acccompany this new beginning by fresh promises. I read today that over a quarter of men in the UK who made a new year's resolution to lose weight had already given up by the third day. Apparently, 31% give up within the first week!
Taking me to a deeper level in my devotional reading yesterday, Oswald Chambers focused on Ecclesiastes 5: 4, 5. "When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it".
He comments that vows can be perilous because when people achieve a moral victory by sheer force of will they are much less likely to want to become Christians than those who face the moral frontier of their own needs and know they cannot fulfil it. 'Jesus Christ bases the entrance to His Kingdom not on a person's vowing and making decisions....it is coming to God exactly as we are, in all our weakness, and being held and kept by Him. Make no vows at this New Year time, but look to God and bank on the Reality of Jesus Christ.'
Chambers gives (as so often in his devotions) a warning about the limitations of sheer will power and an easy way to be foolish in God's sight. Yet, will-power is a gift of discipline in the Spirit and thought-through resolutions committed in Christ's strength are really worth saying aren't they? One of mine is to read through 'Daily Thoughts for Disciples from Oswald Chambers' in 2014. Now that has some chance of fulfilment, doesn't it?!