BE THOU MY VISION
Pastor Jean Owens
You did it! You made it through another year. 2021 is history.
Here we go again! 2022 is a chapter waiting to be written by you. Another 12 months. 52 weeks. 365 days. 8760 hours. 525, 600 minutes and 31,536,000 seconds, God willing. What will you do with the time?
Have you experienced any of the following symptoms this holiday season?
• Eating pie for breakfast
• Playing hooky from the gym
• Binge watching Christmas movies until the wee hours of the morning while riding a cookie-induced sugar high
• Been told your blood type is hot chocolate
• Spent money like you’ve been elected to Congress
If so, you may be entitled to a significant New Year’s Resolution.
It’s no secret the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas can get us all out of whack. Schedules go out the window. That voice in your head that tells you to go to the gym, watch your spending and eat a green vegetable every now and then gets drowned out by Christmas carols and football announcers.
And that’s where New Year’s Resolutions come from.
Did you make any New Year resolutions? You probably at least thought about it. In the dictionary, resolution is defined as “a course of action decided upon; a fixed purpose.”
We resolve to do things differently. To lose weight, to exercise more. To be a better person. To ditch old bad habits and begin some new good ones.
Some quotes that make me smile.
“You know how I always dread the whole year? Well, this time I’m only going to dread one day at a time.” — Charlie Brown
“My New Year’s resolution list usually starts with the desire to lose between 10 and 3,000 pounds.” – quote from a well-known celebrity.
If we are interested in making changes or improvements this year, let me remind you of the methods employed by Paul in Philippians 3:12-14. 12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, 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, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
“Forgetting what is behind.” (v. 13)
Paul is forgetting in such a way that the past, good or bad, will have no negative bearing on your present spiritual growth and condition. Forget the wrongs that can paralyze you with guilt and sadness. Paul definitely had some of these. As a persecutor of the church, he had a lot he wanted to leave behind.
He also didn’t want to focus on how far he had come from where he was. This might make him chill out where he was and be too satisfied or smug about himself. He realized he still had a long way to go if he wanted to know Christ completely.
Sometimes we make resolutions or commitments and find that it takes us a very short period of time before we have already broken them. Out of 10 people who make New Year’s resolutions, eight won’t keep them for more than a month.
Maybe your failure to keep passed resolutions makes you skeptical about making any for 2022. But if we adhere to the method of Paul, we forget about all those failures.
When you are cultivating corn, you have to look forward not behind. The shovels are breaking up the ground in between the rows, and coming very close to the plants themselves. Since a cultivator can do 12 or 24 rows at a time, when you get off center, it wipes out quite an area. But to get the job done, the farmer has to forget what is behind and keep working on what is ahead, or the job never gets done.
We have a clean slate when we forget the past, when we leave it behind.
We must implement a plan of action. “Straining toward what is ahead.” (v. 13) “Straining” refers to continuous concentration, like that of a runner in a race. “Straining” gives us a picture of a runner with his body bent over, hand outstretched, eyes fastened on the goal, never giving a backward glance.
In other words, this runner is focused and determined. A plan of action, once developed has to be held to with great intensity.
The Bible says, “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Cor. 10:31).
As we make resolutions for ourselves, this is really the ultimate question. Would Jesus spend his time this way? Would Jesus have this as a goal? Will this goal make a positive contribution to the world?
Some things aren’t necessarily wrong as goals, they’re just not all that important. Will this goal make a positive contribution to your family, co-workers, community and your world?
Many of us don’t spend enough time developing our personal lives. This includes our spiritual well-being, our prayer life, how physically fit we are, how emotionally healthy we are.
Paul “strained” toward his goal. We have to do the same with our resolutions. “I press on toward the goal.” (v. 14)
If we are going to press on toward our resolutions in 2022, here are some things to remember.
Go slow! You probably can’t work on changing everything all at once. It’s better to work on a little at time and succeed greatly than to work on everything all at once only to accomplish very little or nothing.
If you break a resolution, don’t give up! You don’t have to wait until January of 2023 to start over. Remember, Paul said “forgetting what is behind.” God is continually making us new. If you have a relapse, talk to God about it, then get back in gear. It’s not the end of the world. God forgives.
Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art;
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.
Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tow’r:
Raise Thou me heav’nward, O Pow’r of my pow’r.
Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.
High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heav’n’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.