I don’t want to make a new year’s resolution. The thought of making up some kind of new task, calling this thing a resolution, and approaching it as if the very success of 2011 depends on its completion, simply doesn’t appeal to me. And yet, it is not that I find myself approaching 2011 with any lack of resolve, my drive for purpose would not allow this to be the case. Why? Because I know I am called to be found faithful. Yet more and more I am realizing, this call may have more to do with being and becoming and less with doing and achieving. As I approach a year, which promises change, I realize, this call may have more to do with hanging on to Jesus, than with what I could purpose to achieve.
Faithfulness. God’s faithfulness amazes me. He is so good, and He is so faithful. He displays and proves His incredible faithfulness time and time again. It astounds me. It catches me off guard. It leads me closer to Him. It gives me hope. Even when I feel distracted, used up, unfaithful; He is still faithful, proving His faithfulness all the more. So when I approach the idea of being found faithful to Him, my efforts seem inadequate and inconsistent to say the least. And, yet, He has made a way, and that way is Himself. “For He Himself is our peace.” (Ephesians 2:14). What else can we do but turn to Him? He is our peace. It is Him alone.
Psalm 37, encourages, “Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.” Befriend faithfulness. Back in the day, I thought a true friendship commenced upon verbal agreement and mutual understanding. I still remember being at camp, at a young age, playing some quality Legos with a kid and asking him if he would be my friend. When he agreed I believed a reliable friendship had formed. However, in reality, a friendship does not form on a whim, or in a moment of agreement. A friendship is invested in, sought after, and grown into. Befriend faithfulness. To me this implies a relationship, a back and forth, two sides, and a growing understanding and realization that I need to be dependent on my Lord even to be found faithful to Him. “My soul clings to You, Your right hand upholds me.” Psalm 63:8.
I want to befriend faithfulness. I want to cling to Him. I want to seek His presence and allow Him to hold me up. This past summer was intense and busy. However, on occasion, I spent time laying in a hammock, late at night. I just laid there, all of my weight held in its strings, cradled in the middle of the air. Hammocks are cool like that. I prayed simple, honest prayers telling God that I gave Him everything and I came just as I was. Soon I realized maybe my relationship with Jesus (not so much what I do as a result of it, but the time I spend seeking His presence) should look a lot more like laying in a hammock and a lot less like the performance I find myself trying to make it. What would it look like if I could consistently come before my Maker, Savior, Sustainer and quiet my heart, offering Him all of me, just as I am, regardless of what I have or have not accomplished? What would it look like if I did this, simply allowing Him to refresh, renew, and refine my heart and soul? Then everything else I did would come out of the overflow of this intimate dependence. I dare to say I would be less concerned with performing well and more concerned with loving well. I dare say this would look a lot more like being found faithful.
It is amazing when I take the time to do this. When I put expectations aside, and honestly seek His presence and renewal, something beautiful happens. Things are put back into perspective and we are set free to love and serve well, far better than what we can achieve on our own. We are made new in Him 2 Cor 5:17. “Be still and know” He is God. (Psalm 46:10). May He “establish the work of our hands “ (Psalm 90:17).
I am not speaking of lukewarm faith, for that is the furthest thing from being found faithful (Revelation 3:15-17). This is not a half-hearted pursuit. No, I am all in. By all means, I am all in. I am speaking of an admission of my own humanity, and an invitation to be dependent on the only One who can restore me, make me whole, and give me purpose. It is a resolve to pursue Jesus daily, passionately, and in dependence, clinging to Him and letting Him uphold me. It is a resolve to befriend faithfulness.
I am reminded, yet again, of the words of Paul, he is passionate, purposed, and driven. He wants to do and become, and yet he knows he has not arrived. He can only focus in, and press on, because Jesus has taken hold of him. “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:10-14) I have not attained all this, but I will press on and press in because Jesus has taken hold of me. In Him I can befriend faithfulness–passionately, intentionally, daily–all the while, surrounded in His love, grace, and… faithfulness. Jesus took hold. He touches us, and it is beautiful.