Forget Making New Year’s Resolutions


 “Duty will either make us weary of the world, or the world will make us weary of duty.”
                                                                                                         –Thomas Manton
 
I cannot believe I actually typed out the title to this week’s midweek devotional. I am one of those people who like to make New Year’s Resolutions. But this year I counsel you not to make any sweeping or grand resolutions but rather to leave the successful development of the smallest of habits in the hands of your Lord. Go to him and entrust to him even your desire to adjust your schedule to the smallest degree. As in all things, our pattern is the Lord Jesus. At the beginning of his ministry, he is met with success and he heard the clamor of the crowds and their shouts of approval. What did he do? The gospel of Mark describes his course of action:
 
That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. 33 And the whole city was gathered together at the door. 34 And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.
35 And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. 36 And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, 37 and they found him and said to him, “Everyone is looking for you.” 38 And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.” (Mark 1:32-38, ESV)
 
Simon Peter finally locates Jesus and informs him of what he already knew, “Everyone is looking for you.” It would be very tempting to park his ministry right in the place of healing, exorcisms, and subsequent popularity, but Jesus presses on to preaching. Why? Because the purpose of his coming was to preach the kingdom and to give his life as a ransom for many. We, as well, are to press on through the passing applause of this world, or the chasing after things that lead to the world’s approval, and we are to seek first his kingdom and his righteousness. How do we do that? By seeking to know him through his word and by his appointed means: Bible reading, prayer, solitude, fasting, congregational worship, conference, etc. (see David Mathis’ Habits of Grace: Enjoying Jesus Through the Spiritual Disciplines, recommended by Pastor Charles) If you are not inclined to read, then listen to our latest Pastors Roundtable. It is our tenth roundtable discussion and will be posted very soon. We spend thirty delightful minutes discussing Scripture reading, Bible plans, prayer guides, and the Puritan discipline of conference! Have a blessed 2022! 
 
Love in Christ,
Pastor Dale