It's that time of year again - time to ring in the New Year with dramatic resolutions fueled by the hope of immediate and significant personal life change.
Let's be honest. The reality is that few smokers actually quit because of a single moment of resolve. Few obese people become slim and healthy because of one dramatic moment of commitment. Few people deeply in debt change their financial lifestyle because they resolve to do so as the old year gives way to the new. Few marriages change by the means of one dramatic resolution.
Is change important? Yes, it is for all of us in some way. Is commitment essential? Of course! There's a way in which all our lives are shaped by the commitments we make. But biblical Christianity - which has the gospel of Jesus Christ at its heart - simply doesn't rest its hope in big, dramatic moments of change.
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 where do we live? We all have the same address - the utterly mundane.
Most of us won't be written up in history books. Most of us only make three or four momentous decisions in our lives, and several decades after we die, the people we leave behind will struggle to remember the events of our lives. You and I live in little moments, and if God doesn't rule our little moments and doesn't work to re-create us in the middle of them, then there's no hope for us, because that's where you and I live.
This is where I think "Big Drama Christianity" gets us into trouble. It can cause us to devalue the significance of the little moments of life and the "small change" grace that meets us there. Because we devalue the little moments where we live, we don't tend to notice the sin that gets exposed there and we fail to seek the grace that's offered to us.
10,000 LITTLE MOMENTS
I don't want to discourage you from making a resolution or tell you to throw away what you've already written, but I do want to challenge your way of thinking. You see, the character of your life won't be established in two or three dramatic moments, but in 10,000 little moments. Your legacy will be shaped more by the 10,000 little decisions you make in 2014 rather than the last-minute resolution you're about to make.
How can you establish a godly character and lasting legacy in 2014?
- With 10,000 moments of personal insight and conviction.
- With 10,000 moments of humble submission.
- With 10,000 moments of foolishness exposed and wisdom gained.
- With 10,000 moments of sin confessed and sin forsaken.
- With 10,000 moments of courageous faith.
- With 10,000 choice points of obedience.
- With 10,000 times of forsaking the kingdom of self and running toward the kingdom of God.
- With 10,000 moments where we abandon worship of the creation and give ourselves to worship of the Creator.
That's a lot of moments. Too many, in fact, to accomplish successfully on our way. No wonder we settle for one big resolution instead of a day-by-day resolutions. But here's what makes 10,000 little resolutions possible - GRACE. Relentless, transforming, little-moment grace.
You see, Jesus is Emmanuel not just because he came to earth, but because he makes you the place where he dwells. This means he is present and active in all the mundane moments of your daily life. In these small moments he is delivering every redemptive promise he has made to you. In these unremarkable moments, he is working to rescue you from you and transform you into his likeness.
By sovereign grace he places you in daily little moments that are designed to take you beyond your character, wisdom and grace so that you'll seek the help and hope that can only be found in him. In a lifelong process of change, he is undoing you and rebuilding you again - exactly what each one of us needs!
Yes, you and I need to be committed to change in 2014, but not in a way that hopes for a big event of transformation, but in a way that finds joy in and is faithful to a day-by-day, step-by-step process of insight, confession, repentance and faith.
As 2013 gives way to 2014, wake up each day committed to live in the 10,000 little moments of your daily life with open eyes and humbly expectant hearts.