New Year’s resolutions – remember those?
In the spirit of accountability, indulge me this post today. Rewinding to the end of 2013, I resolved four things:
1) To love my wife even more;
2) To go deeper with God;
3) To keep my mind sharp;
4) To keep my body strong.
Loving my wife more than ever – I’ll have to let Amy grade me on how I’m doing. Lord knows I’m far from the perfect husband, but I can say this: I’m more convinced than ever that on 1 June 1985 when I took my marriage vows with Amy – other than the day when I was 7 and said “yes” to Jesus, deciding to follow Him – those vows that day in June were the best decision I’ve ever made. Can I say that 4 days before Valentine’s Day?
On going deeper with God – My following a reading through the Bible in a year has made me hungrier to know my Lord (Phil. 3:10). But this year, I’m glad that others are coming along for the journey. If you read French, check out my “30 Minutes avec Dieu” journal.
As for keeping my mind sharp – Besides the theological reading that feeds this blog, I’ve found that reading things non-theological has been refreshing. I’m enjoying my daily dose of news sites, especially nbcnews.com, csmonitor.com, slate.com, and theatlantic.com. Right now, I’m reading Theodore Boone: The Accused by Grisham and A Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, by Doris Kearns Goodwin. The Kearns-Goodwin tome is a big one, and I’m on a slow read of 3-5 pages per day at bedtime. It’s a well-written book, and I love history.
The toughest one has been “keeping my body strong.” At 50 I’m in the AARP zone, but I refuse to be an old 50! When I’m at home, it hasn’t been a problem getting out on the bike and riding for 15-20 minutes in my hilly neighborhood, although the first few days were a killer. (Thanks go to Claude, my neighbor, a biking aficionado and brother in Christ who rode with me twice and gave me some good tips, helping me avoid what he called the “heresy” of stopping and walking my bike. Did Claude know the right word to choose, or what?) Rainy days have called for some adjustment, and three times I’ve made a little indoor track of our living room and dining room, walking fast instead of biking. On those days, I’ve had to remember that the goal is not riding a bike. The goal is getting and staying fit. It sure is easy to confuse the means with the end! (Hmmm, there might be another blog post in there somewhere…)
Through these 6 weeks, a passage keeps coming to mind:
“No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us” (Philippians 3:13-14).
With all this striving, I’m glad that my acceptance with God does not depend upon my imperfect effort. Now more than ever, I’m glad for the grace of God, the unmerited favor that reminds me when I fall short, that’s O.K. God’s love and my acceptance with Him do not depend upon my performance. Still, I’m also glad for the other kind of grace, God’s power at work in me. I’m reminded of one of my favorite scenes from the movie, Hoosiers. Scott, the average basketball player who rarely is in the limelight, has a close walk with God and prays before games, kind of a precursor to Tim Tebow. His dad is the team chaplain who is also a local preacher. In the key part of the game, Scott comes off the bench and starts stringing together two pointers.”What has gotten into you?” the coach asks. “It’s the Lord,” Scott replies. “I can feel his strength.”
I’m feeling a lot like Scott these days. It’s a good place to be, and all the credit goes to Jesus.
Next progress report: May 2014