Resolutions are a way of life for many of us. We center our lives upon what we are determined to accomplish and we make resolutions throughout the year, as our lives change. We find ourselves making resolutions to lose weight, to eat healthy, to spend more time reading, to spend more time with family or to become a better person.
“Resolution one: I will live for God. Resolution two: Even if no one else does, I still will.” – Jonathan Edwards
Resolutions, as we often view them, keep us on track or keep us focused. Resolutions can be good things for us too. Resolutions should not be an end-all, be all for believers. Resolutions can become a legalistic lifestyle if our focus becomes centered on what we are doing and not what we believe. Yet, I want to encourage all of us to make resolutions to engage.
Our first resolution should be to pursue intimacy with our Savior. In Luke 10:38-42, Jesus visits the home of Mary and Martha. While Martha is running around, being distracted with all the preparations that were needed, Mary sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to His voice. Mary’s so called “lack of help” caused Martha to become upset. This is how Jesus responded: But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42)
When we engage Christ, we are giving honor and priority to seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Secondly, when we engage Christ, we are allowing our Creator to speak into our lives which must come before we serve Him. Third, when we engage Christ, we allow our intimacy with Him to define who we are and through that intimacy, everything else comes into focus.
Our second resolution should be to get connected to the community of believers around us, through local Church fellowship. The first characteristic of the early Church was to fellowship and community building. Acts 2:42 reads, “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”
Engaging community allows discipleship to become a lifestyle. I believe the key term in Acts 2:42 would be “devoted.” The believers, those who had been following Christ and the new converts, did not see fellowship as an event or a routine but rather it defined everything else they did.
Engaging community is the result of lifting up the Gospel message. The first characteristic of the Church was a devotion to the teachings the Apostles gave. Their message was Christ Jesus and what He had done for them. Lifting up the Gospel message inspired the people to give up their lives for the Risen Son of God.
Engaging community allows generosity to flow. As we read later in Acts chapter 4, Luke informs us that there was no need within the body of Christ. Thus, through developing a lifestyle of fellowship with other believers resulted in sharing with others. Fellowship allows us to live out the Gospel command to love others.
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” – John 1:14
Engaging culture reveals that God is with us. God has not turned His back on creation and when we allow Christ in us to transform our lives, our hearts break for what breaks His heart. While Jesus loves His own, His heart longs for the lost. Jesus became involved with those around Him and so should we.
Engaging culture reveals that God is love. True love is reflected in our response to others. God, the Creator of the universe, allowed His character and attitude to be dominated by humility and served others. Engaging culture facilitates service that we might reflect Christ.
Engaging culture reveals that God is receptive. Perhaps the greatest known verse in the Bible is John 3:16, “For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”
In John 3:16 we discover that the heart of God is loving, the heart of God is sending and the heart of God is receiving. When we engage culture, we reflect that truth to others. First, that God is a God of love, not one who is judging or condemning the world. God, in his love, sends his Son Jesus Christ. Through sending Jesus, God reconciles the world to himself. When we engage culture, we become ambassadors for Christ and we share the message of reconciliation.