Most new year resolutions are about some specific thing you do with a specific goal in mind (like “lose 30 pounds!”), but my resolution this year is simply summed up in this two-letter suffix: “-ly” — and it should affect everything I do. I know this flies in the face of some conventional wisdoms about how to make effective new year resolutions, but I feel that what I need now is not to attain any specific accomplishment; rather, I need to do the things I do in a better way. So here are three “-ly’s” that I resolve to inject into everything I do in 2013:
“Let all that you do be done in love.” (1 Corinthians 16:14) I tend to be an overly-rational, overly-analytical person. But all that I say or do means nothing if I’m not being loving. And one way to be loving to feel affectionate toward people. A good example to follow is Paul, who yearns for fellow believers with “the affection of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:8). I need to be affectionate toward others in my heart, in my words, in my actions, in my concerns for others. I also need to express my feelings better. I have faith that the Lord will help me increase in love and affection (1 Thessalonians 3:12) as I grow in faith. So my first “-ly” is to always be loving.
Whatever circumstances and sufferings I go through, I need to trust that God has his own purpose and mission behind all this (2 Timothy 1:8-9). My daily task is to discern and join in God’s mission. I should run toward, not away from, daily challenges if they serve to advance God’s kingdom. So my second “-ly” is to always be on mission.
Prayer is more than an event. It is an ongoing surrender of will and control in life. Every moment of life should be prayer-filled (1 Thessalonians 5:17), and prayer should be a part of everything I do (Philippians 4:6). Praying has not been a strong suit for me in the past. So my third “-ly” is to always be praying.
Conclusion: Change happens in the mundane
In his “New Year’s Resolutions” post, Paul David Tripp wrote: “The fact of the matter is that the transforming work of grace is more of a mundane process than it is a series of a few dramatic events. Personal heart and life change is always a process. And where does that process take place? It takes place where you and I live everyday.” And this mundane process of transforming grace is where I’d like to continue to live in, and live it more full-ly.