It's time for New Year's resolutions, if anyone does something so old-fashioned anymore. These annual proclamations have become laughable for their famous failure rates (somewhere around 100 percent by the time of the feast of the wise men). But the Bible itself speaks of "transformation" (2 Corinthians 3:18) and "increase" (2 Thessalonians 1:3; Hebrews 5:14; 2 Peter 1:5-8) and "perfection" (Romans 6:22; 1 John 3:6). The only problem with most New Year's resolutions is the motive and the means.
For means, people think they can stop swearing like longshoremen all by themselves, without the Holy Spirit. (And no doubt a good 2 percent of them do.) For motives, they want to stop swearing like longshoremen in order to get that hot girl in the office, not for the Holy Spirit.
But you, Christian, are interested in God and in His glory. May you therefore seek perfection? May you ask God for "increase" and "transformation" and "perfection" in 2010? May you expect to be holier in 2010 than 2009? The answer is not that you may but that you must.
We were saved for "improvement" and "perfection."
"His divine power has granted us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence . . ." (2 Peter 1:3).
And to not pursue the inheritance for which you were saved is to commit the sinful folly of the man who was given one talent and folded it in a napkin and hid it in the ground. That man didn't even think to seek increase because he had "a little attitude" about the master. He thought his lord to be "a hard man" (Matthew 25:24). What did he mean by "a hard man"? Stingy? Not forthcoming with gifts and rewards? Not a man to keep his word? He didn't trust him.
God is not "a hard man" except to the likes of guys like that servant. Those in the parable who believed in the master's generosity went for the increase; the servant who didn't think much of his master got nothing. It's funny, isn't it? Some people might have mistaken the gentleman's unbelief for humility.
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