By now most people are well into their New Year’s resolutions. Some are still succeeding, others have failed and are discouraged. Every year at this time we decide to exercise more, eat less, read more, spend more time in prayer, etc.. We make the conscious decision to put our minds, bodies and spirits through a time of self-discipline in order to get our desired results. Self-discipline is a great virtue to develop, it’s biblical after all (Gal.5:23). However, in this season of resolutions, I want to suggest a different tactic. Instead of seeking to change yourself through a resolution, I suggest remembering who you are through Reflecting, Reckoning, and Resting.
The fast paced nature of our lives does not lend itself to much reflection. It seems that we are always focused on what we need to accomplish next, which leads to frenzied lives. In order to remember who you are, you need to make time to reflect. You also need to reflect on the correct things. Psalm 29:1-2 gives us instruction on this.
Ascribe to the LORD, O sons of the mighty,
Ascribe to the LORD glory and strength
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due to His name;
Worship the LORD in holy array
To ascribe is to attribute or credit God with Who He is and what He has done. In reflecting, it is profitable to ascribe to the Lord the things He has done in your life. To give God the credit, the recognition, the thanks for all that He has done, is a beneficial means of reflecting.
For 30 minutes, take time to reflect on the past year. As you remember the things that have happened in the past year, write them down in a journal and ascribe to God the things He has done. Give Him praise through the words you write as you reflect on what He has done for you. By taking the time to ascribe your reflections in a journal, you will force yourself to slow down a bit and contemplate how good and faithful God has been.
Because so much of our self-worth can easily get wrapped up in our accomplishments, our success, even our resolutions, we need adequate time to reckon. Reckoning means to accurately account for the true state of a matter. It is an accounting term that seeks precision and exactitude when dealing with finances. Romans 6:11 tells us:
Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We are told to take a true, precise, accurate account of the fact that, as Christians, we are dead to sin and alive to God. This is the identity that we need to be reminded of, this is the identity that we should be living out of. Perhaps we spend too much time chasing our own accomplishments and the applause of others, instead of reckoning the truth about our identity in God.
Take an hour and get to a quiet place in your house or backyard. Leave all disturbances behind (phones, computers, other people), and spend the first 30 minutes slowly reading and re-reading Ephesians chapter 1. For the last 30 minutes, spend time in silence, contemplating the identity that God has given to you and how important His valuation of you is. Don’t rush. Spend time reckoning who you are in Christ.
Resting sounds like an easy thing to do, but I do not mean by this a physical rest and relaxation. The type of rest I am speaking about is an active resting. A resting that is more an attitude of the heart and mind. This type of resting comes through the practice of reflection and reckoning. As we consistently reminisce about the things God has been doing in our lives and reckon our true identity as being in Christ, a peace, a rest will be evident in our daily lives. The worry of what others think of you, the stress of chasing accomplishments and accolades, the frenetic pace of keeping up with the Joneses, all of these types of unrest that intrude our lives can dissipate through reflecting and reckoning. Psalm 37:7-8 says
Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.
Cease from anger and forsake wrath;
Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing.
Resting in the Lord happens when we reckon the identity that He has given us, and when we reflect on the ways He is actively at work in our lives. Rest is absent not because it is unavailable, but because sometimes we are too focused on our resolutions and not on reflecting and reckoning.
Make a commitment to practice the practical tips for reflecting and reckoning once a month this year. Make a resolution to remember how loved you are now instead of all the changes you need to make to gain acceptance. As you practice these things there will be an inner peace that comes through resting in the Lord.
As you begin practicing these things, please comment and let us know how God is at work in your life and what changes you are seeing in your walk with Him.