I can't bring myself to make any resolutions this year. Maybe it's because I know that all of my past self-willed hopes and dreams fall short year after year. So why bother? Or maybe there's something bigger.
This last year when I was in the Dominican Republic, I was struck by the humility of the pastors and leaders there. When asked what they did, they would humbly preface their answer with "by the grace of God." So..."by the grace of God, I am the pastor of..." or "by the grace of God, I am the site director for..." Over and over, we heard them speak like this.
Would I ever have the humility to talk like this..."by the grace of God, I am..." Would I be self-conscious about it? Would it become an issue of pride for me to show how humble I am? Would it matter?
As I stand at the beginning of another year, I'm reminded about what the book of James says about resolving to do things in the future. James 4:13-16: Some of you say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to some city. We will stay there a year, do business, and make money." But you do not know what will happen tomorrow! Your life is like a mist. You can see it for a short time, but then it goes away. So you should say, "If the Lord wants, we will live and do this or that." But now you are proud and you brag. All of this bragging is wrong. Anyone who knows the right thing to do, but does not do it, is sinning.
Strong words. What if we learned from our brothers and sisters in Christ from the DR? What if we prefaced all our hopes and dreams and resolutions with "If the Lord wants..." or "by God's grace, I will..."? Are we afraid we'd feel antiquated and embarrassed? Part of me thinks so, but if I know to do right and I don't...it's sin.
I'm thinking this is my one resolution for this year: By the grace of God, I acknowledge that I'm nothing without God's grace and to purpose to know that every day what I do and don't do is in his hands. By the grace of God, I submit to his good and gracious will.