|Photos courtesy of (where else?) Pinterest.|
Did anyone else find it cool how both Christmas and New Year's Day fell on a Sunday? Sundays are the best days as it is and well-deserving of such celebratory holidays. In honor of 2012, new year resolutions and Sundays, we bring you the following program.
Me. He wouldn't have bothered to make me unless it was really necessary, unless I was somehow a differentiation in humanity. For some reason I look the way I do and act the way I do, think the way I do and feel the way I do. I know enough of God to know He does most things for a reason, and enough of myself to wonder what on earth it could be: I think it strange that God would create such diversity just for diversity's sake.
I've always been a strong little personality, in my own weak way. Always been stubborn. Arrogant. My-way-or-the-high-way. (My mother said my blessing is that I try to convince everyone through logic and persuasion and my curse that I actually believe it works all the time.) In discovering God -- or what other people said about God -- I always struggled to figure out where I fit in.
What did God want me for -- I mean me? Some people made it out that I was another person to be conformed to a brand of Christianity, purified from uniqueness, my differences melted off. Some people lied that God really needed me, that I was amazing because I was an individual and ought to be almost respected by God.
I fall into two traps -- the one of being a mass-marketed believer, a follower of human ideas with Biblical flavor, and the one of worshiping my individuality.
We're such an individual culture. We don't like anybody crowding our ego, heaven forbid. We aren't interested in doing the right thing or respecting God, so long as we're happy and people respect our decisions. It's American -- the right to pursue happiness, to be one's own boss, to make up one's own mind. We have our own private religion, our own private likes, our own private life that ain't nobody can step on.
On the one hand, Christianity offers a breath of fresh air for individuals -- an individual relationship, a freedom in Christ. And yet it seemed so confusing at times, with obvious commands in Scripture that turn public opinion against it and seem to thwart individuality. (Anyone ever get into an argument about homosexuality, lately?)
I want to extend the right to be an individual in Christ and not make rules about certain things, rules the Scripture is silent on, yet I don't want to be the obnoxious antinomian bragging about all the stuff I can and will do, regardless of what anybody says.
I want to be tender. I want to stand up for what's right. I want both and can figure out neither.
How can I be an individual and belong to God? What's the point of my individuality? What's the point of Christian freedom? Why can't we all march lockstep in matching uniforms and erase hard decisions?
I wrestled with this question a long time, reeling from rejection of those who saw me locked in the jaws of the devil or the jaws of legalism. And now I know.
I am the way I am and I live the way I live because every inch of flesh and soul must glorify God. I am most free when I am lost in my Redeemer. I don't make decisions to gratify my individuality, to accentuate that I can do whatever I like, that I have Christian freedom. Every use of my Christian freedom and my individuality must draw me nearer to God.
Freedom isn't for me. Individuality isn't for me. It's for Him -- and oh, friend, if you will find Him, if you will seek Him and know Him and reason with Him, you will find yourself. You will find Him written all over you -- your desire to be loved by Him, His image stamped in you -- and you will see that loss is gain.
This new year, I choose to die to myself to find myself -- to lose my life to gain it. Every decision, every step, every day I want to devote to going deeper into Christ. He must increase: I must decrease -- it's the cry of my heart. No longer I but Him.
Strangely, serving Him is the most self-gratifying freedom available.
|| On a more practical note, what are some of your New Year's resolutions? Mine are getting up on time, limiting computer waste, developing daily devotional habits (gotta love the alliteration) and finding creative ways to discuss important issues without gossiping or exalting myself. Among other more unnecessary stuff like writing books and learning how to take amazing pictures. ||