January 30, 2015
I am bad at keeping my resolutions; I think most people are. The gyms are full in January and empty in February. The healthy foods that we promise to eat get replaced by fast food because it is simply easier. Churches are full in January but the habit doesn’t stick and sleeping in feels too good on cold days in February (or a Cowboy's playoff game happens at noon).
Why is it that they don’t stick? Is it because we don’t really want to change? We really prefer sleeping in and eating French fries and not working out. Or is it because we don’t quickly see the benefits of our new-found commitments? We work out for three weeks, and we haven’t lost weight yet so we decide to give up. Or is it because we don’t see the consequences of our actions? We eat that extra bit of ice cream because we don’t realize that it adds up every single day. If we had a vision of the fat that was added onto us over thirty years, we might stick to our habits.
For faith, this becomes an even greater issue. Working out and eating less are about our bodies in this life, but faith is about both this life and the next. And yet, our resolutions about faith stick with us about as long as our other New Year's resolutions. Ever started reading the Bible every day just to stop after a few weeks? Or commit to attend church for it to only fizzle out as life got in the way?
Faith is about a new commitment that sticks. This Sunday in The Well, we are talking about the changes that this church is going to be making this year – our renewed commitment to reach people for Jesus. This is going to be a great year. I’ve hinted at that in sermons, and I hope you are ready. We are going to make this place the most welcoming place for people to become passionate servants of Jesus.
But the question for the church is the same question for our lives. How do we keep our new commitments every day and every week?
Simple: by having a change of heart. To change your eating habits, find a salad you like. To change your working out habits, find a way to enjoy working out. To follow Christ, let your heart change to respond to God. I find that this happens most by not making small changes, but rather planning to orient your life around the change that you want. Weight Watchers has a statement: “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
Consider, for example, this Sunday’s Cowboy's game. Typically a noon Cowboy's game is the perfect recipe to diminish a commitment to go to church every weekend. If you fail to plan your weekend, you might get to Sunday morning and miss out. Or, you could plan to come to our 9:09 service to get out just under two hours before kickoff (even though the 10:39 service will get out well before noon). If you typically go to the traditional services, we have a 9:30 and an 11:00; and we live in an age of DVR's so that you don’t actually have to miss any part of the game in order to make worship this week.
True commitment requires planning, but only true commitment can change our lives and our hearts. So I guess I’ll see you Sunday morning. And the one after that.