Hello and happy New Year!
It is the eve of a new year, one which will bring about changes, either for good or for bad. It is a time of reflection, a time of introspection, and a time for resolutions.
What will your resolution be this year?
Most years I make resolutions only to forget about them a few weeks in. I want, however, to challenge us all to make a new kind of resolution this year….
It all begins about 40 years ago. I had always wanted to be a missionary, and when the opportunity presented itself to go to an island as an SOS missionary, just for the summer, I jumped at the chance.
I was a fully-licensed pastor at the time, but as soon as September came around, I was planning on continuing my studies to become a teacher. This post gave me ample opportunity to gain practical experience in both areas. I was assigned English classes, and I was also asked to preach the Word of God. I thoroughly enjoyed both responsibilities. My students and the people who attended the church where I preached were all so hungry for the Word of God! It was truly a blessing to be there.
Even though I was only an interim missionary, the day I arrived I was invited to take all of my meals with the resident missionaries, and I gladly complied. I did have a kitchen at my disposal as well, for the odd time when I wanted to make a meal for new friends I had invited to my home. The only problem was the overabundance of these pesky flying insects. I hesitate to call them roaches, for they were four times the size of any cockroach I had ever seen before; yet that is technically what they were. I had them in my room and in the bathroom; but the place where they bothered me the most was the one place where they seemed to love to congregate: In my little kitchenette! Somehow, although I didn’t particularly like sharing my shower with winged cockroaches, and I wasn’t particularly fond of shaking them out of my clothes and my bedding either, I couldn’t stomach the thought of them in my food-preparation area… And so I continued to take the majority of my meals with the other missionaries in their dining room.
In thinking back, I realize that there was likely a large roach population in the kitchen where those meals were prepared as well, but somehow, “out of sight, out of mind” was my motto.
The problem is, just because something is hidden from view, doesn’t mean it isn’t there, and it certainly doesn’t mean that it cannot harm you. I mean, the roaches in the kitchen where most of my food was prepared for me were contaminating my food in the same way as they did if I prepared my own food in the kitchenette attached to my lodging! I don’t know if this is the reason I ended up with a week’s worth of an intestinal bug or not, because to my way of thinking, as long as I couldn’t see those pesky bugs, they couldn’t be harming me!
So what does any of this have to do with New Years’ resolutions?
There are other “pesky bugs” in all of our lives. These are our habitual sins. But as long as people don’t see them, it’s okay, right? They can’t spoil our reputation if no one knows they are there! But just like those roaches in my food that I didn’t see were still possibly responsible for health problems, the habitual sin in my life is also responsible for hurting my spiritual life, for standing in the way of my relationship with God, and quite possibly, for fouling my Christian life and example. “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” (Is. 59:2 NIV). After all, although they may be “secret” from other people, God sees them all! “You, God, know my folly; my guilt is not hidden from you.” (Ps. 69:5 NIV)
As I think about these “roaches” in my character, I want to be free of them. No, not just where no one can see them, either! I want them … Gone! And my New Years’ resolution is to pray, as David did, every morning throughout the upcoming year: “But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults.” (Ps. 19:12 NIV) I also resolve to ask God to help me search my heart for hidden sin: “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Ps. 139:23-24 NIV)
Will you join me in this resolution for the upcoming new year? If you do, you must know that God WILL answer this prayer…and you may not like what He reveals. But in the end, your relationship with God and your witness will be so much better that it will all be worthwhile!
Here’s to a New Year … WITHOUT the flying cockroaches of secret sin!
In His love,
Director, Answer2prayer Ministries