New – I like new things. We all like new things. They’re fresh. “Out with the old in with the new,” right? If you’re like me, the moment Christmas happened you were mentally packing up your décor, putting your new things to use and getting your home in order attempting to make a fresh look at an old home.
There’s something alluring about a spotless home, with everything in its place that makes the clean slate of a New Year even more glamourous.
Right now, lots of us are spending time strategizing a plan we’re about to set into motion. A plan that statistics prove, many of us are going to fail to accomplish. I hate failing. You probably do to, and just like me you’re probably ready to make a fail proof resolution. This thought has brought me to a new mindset ready to take a fresh look at an old path.
I’m a fixer. Who’s with me?
Fixers are get-it-done people who can identify what’s wrong, and are compelled to swoop in – and – fix it. This is good, and bad. Good because you can see what’s wrong, and bad because your almost obsessive inclination to do it yourself. The inclination that no matter how many times you’ve tried and failed causes you to stand up and try again.
There’s a problem with doing some things yourself. Fixing the sink while your husband is away can be harmless – but trying to fix personality flaws, and break old habits are things we aren’t equipped to do alone. We’re drawn to self-help thoughts, “I’m gonna fix myself, and to do it I have to come up with something brand new – something that’s never been done.” We have this inclination to try to improve upon and come up with our own methods, which proves problematic because that was never part of God’s plan. His plan is to help us, yet our “fix it yourself” nature leaves Him out of the picture removing His ability to do what only He can.
Want to make a fail proof New Year’s resolution?
Let’s look, and see, what does God’s word have to say?
A fresh look at an old path:
This is what the Lord says: “Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls.
But you reply, ‘No, that’s not the road we want!’
In this verse we find travelers who are lost. They acknowledged they’re lost and stopped to ask for directions back to the path they once knew. They attempted to take a fresh look at an old path.
All scripture is profitable for us, so what’s the personal application here, and how does it tie in to now?
We’re like these travelers, and this time of year causes many of us to do just what they did and take a fresh look at an old path.
4 steps to a fresh look at an old path:
1) Stop at that crossroads.
The travelers in our verse found themselves walking down an unknown path – one that they traveled down through their stubborn refusal to follow God’s path.
The New Year is a time when we stop and come up with a resolution to put into action that will consequently, make the next year the best yet.
Let’s stop and evaluate, where are we?
Have you made mistakes?
“No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it,[a] but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”
What path are we walking down? Are we in the same predicament as the travelers and found ourselves walking down a path we never should have?
A new year’s clean slate is mesmerizing. We wait for this day all year, the one day we get to push reset and begin again to break old habits, and begin anew.
2) Look around.
Ezekiel 36:25-27 “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.[a]27 And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.
The travelers in our verse had stony hearts that worshipped idols. Just the same, we go through experiences that can cause us too to have stony hearts that lead us to blindly worship idols.
Reflection is good for the soul. It involves intentional looking that reveals things to us that we would never see if we didn’t take the time to stop and think.
Do that today. Take a fresh look. Think – Where has this year led? How are your children? In what state is your marriage? Look and be willing to see things with transparency.
This will require you to physically walk through your home, and take inventory. Have you unknowingly erected idols? Idols take many different shapes and forms. As you’re walking look to see, is anything trying to raise itself higher than the Lord? Are the video games your child plays and the time they spend appropriate? Think about their messages, and also those your taking in through other avenues of television and movies. Should your family be entertained by the messages they instill or are they numbing you with thought patterns of this world?
Spend time asking God to lead you back to the old, godly waym and open your eyes to a fresh way to see these old paths. As you’ve stopped, and looked around, you have probably found things that shouldn’t have been there. Walk through each room again and spend time in prayer spiritually cleaning and restoring them to a place where God is glorified, where His presence is welcome.
4) Walk in it, and find rest.
We all want rest. Rest is a hard to come by commodity that we’ve lost sight of. God’s promise to us is walking His way, results in rest.
How do you find rest?
Romans 12:12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
As you’ve walked through your home and spent time in prayer, God may have revealed things to you. Don’t ignore what God is saying. Take action. Remove that game, clean up your profile, or put a plan into action that will help right where you’ve gone wrong.
Doing these things are steps that lead you down God’s path toward the rest you’re desperately seeking.
God’s will is for us is to find His path. When we follow these steps, we know with confidence that it will result in God doing exactly what we have asked.
Which leads us to the hard part.
What’s the hard part?
It’s the part these travelers faced that made them respond, ‘No, that’s not the road we want!’
It’s the part where we see two choices. The one that leads down a path toward the kingdom we’re building on our own. We can identify this one immediately by its bricks of instant gratification, acceptance, popularity and “feel good” experiences. Or the old path. This one is identified with its distorted view filled with rocky terrain and a mountain that stands in the way of the magnificent Kingdom we’re told sits just on the other side.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 “Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.”
Matthew 7:13, “You can enter God’s kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.
There is a straight and narrow path that leads to the Kingdom of God. There are few that find it, or even want to find it. If you’re one of the few that want it, make that first step down that path. Walk toward that mountain and climb it by pressing against the grain of society and toward the will of our Lord and the Kingdom where we were made to abide.
Let’s make this year, the best yet by taking a fresh look at an old path and making the best choice we can ever make. Choose Him.
For more about God type resolutions check out: Resolve to Choose