New Resolutions for the New Year?

You could use an old resolution and renew it…  Yes, most of us need to work on the same thing, year after year: on surrender to the voice and the will of God. Not that every year He wants something different for us, but He may wish to give us or ask of us something new.

As for me, I think I am simply going to re-read an article I wrote at the beginning of 2008 for Today’s Catholic and see where that leads me. I invite you to read along: perhaps it will aid you in making a significant New Year’s Resolution.

My New Year’s Resolution: To Discover What Jesus Wants For Me and From Me

Like many people, you may be considering a New Year’s Resolutions: something you will commit to doing throughout 2008.  Mine will be to discover what Jesus wants for me and from me – and to dispose myself to actually receive what He has for me and give Him what He wants from me. 

This, of course, is not something new.  This is the attitude with which I try to live my life of discipleship day after day, year after year, following the example of our father in faith, Abraham, who responded “Ready!” when God called his name (Cf. Genesis 22:1) In that passage, titled in some Bibles “The Testing of Abraham”, we see that the Lord wanted something from Him, because He also wanted something for him – and these two things go hand in hand.  In order to bring about His plan for us, and grant us what He has in store for us –to bless us in unimaginable ways, with blessings we have not yet conceived (“‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him’- but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 2: 9-10)– God may ask something from us: to embrace a particular mission or sacrifice, or to give up something that stands in the way of being blessed, of receiving His presence and power in our lives.  If this is the case, all I can say to my soul is “Give it up already!”  Why delay giving Jesus what He wants from me if in exchange I will receive what He has in mind for me?!  It makes perfect sense to enter into this divine exchange given that I will undoubtedly be the winner. 

But this only rings true to the one who has come to another deep conviction about God, one that rules my life and relationship with Christ, namely, that “God wants only and always my good.”  This is one of my mottos, a truth I have lived by since I first came to know the Lord in a personal, intimate, life-giving, and life-changing way at the age of 15.  It’s foundational, for if this is not true, if God is not for me, as St. Paul assures us in Romans 8:28-39, then who is it that we are following?  What kind of God is this, if not the God of tender mercy, of abiding love, of a compassion that is renewed each morning? 

“This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The LORD’S loving-kindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:21-23)

I believe a very worthwhile goal for this year –and for life– is to come to that place in our walk with the Lord where we can say with St. Paul, without hesitation or fear: “I know Him in whom I have believed.” (2 Timothy 1:12b)  This is another one of those mottos and deep convictions that rule my life and my relationship with Christ and His Church.  I know God can be trusted.  I know God is for me and not against me.  I know the God who has my best interest in mind.  That’s why I can say with great joy: “God is good all the time!  All the time, God is good!”  Can you?

Have you come to know the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit this way?  Have you experienced the God of love and the love of God in a life-changing manner?  Do you experience His mercies each morning?  Do you trust Him?  Can you entrust every aspect and area of your life –your thoughts, feelings, judgments, decisions, actions, family, love life, vocation, work, ministry, finances, health, your entire being– to Him, knowing that God is trustworthy and true all the time?  Yes, to that God who does allow our free will to wreak havoc on ourselves and others, who sees the consequences of mankind’s sin and suffers it more than we?  Do you trust Him despite the trials He may allow you to undergo in this life? 

I can.  I do.  But not nearly as much as I would like to, which is why my New Year’s Resolution is not new, but very worthwhile: to discover and dispose myself to receive what Jesus has for me and give Him what He wants from me this year.  I have nothing to fear because “God is for us”! (Romans 8:31) 

Have a very blessed 2008 journey of faith, and may you, like St. Paul, be able to say with greater conviction that than ever: “I have been grasped by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12)

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose… What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? God, who justifies? Who shall condemn them? Christ Jesus, who died or rather was raised to life, who is at the right hand of God and who intercedes for us? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?… No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (cf. Romans 8:28-39)

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