A New Year's Resolution

Posted on 12/27/2015 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)

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HIS BANNER OVER ME

He is the Vine and we are the branches,
His banner over me is love.
He is the Vine and we are the branches,
His banner over me is love.
He is the Vine and we are the branches,
His banner over me is love.
His banner over me is love!

He is the Shepherd and we are his beloved,
His banner over me is love.
He is the Shepherd and we are his beloved,
His banner over me is love.
He is the Shepherd and we are his beloved,
His banner over me is love.
His banner over me is love!

He calls us to His Banqueting Table,
His banner over me is love.
He calls us to His Banqueting Table,
His banner over me is love.
He calls us to His Banqueting Table,
His banner over me is love.
His banner over me is love!


MIGHTY IS OUR GOD

Mighty is our God
Mighty is our King
Might is our Lord
Ruler of everything

His name is higher,
higher than any other name
His power is greater,
for he has created everything


TO HIM WHO SITS ON THE THRONE

To him who sits on the throne
and unto the Lamb
To him who sits on the throne
and unto the Lamb

Be blessing and glory
and honor and power forever
Be blessing and glory
and honor and power forever


*** Choose your connection speed and listen to the audio to hear the introduction. ***


In just a few days,
most of us will celebrate
the coming of
a new year.

A popular thing
to do on
New Year's Eve
is to get drunk.

Oh wait,
that's not the
popular thing
I meant to mention.

Probably
millions of people
will make
what we call
"New Year's Resolutions."

There are things
we'd like to change.

Habits we'd like
to make or break.

Goals we'd like
to achieve.

We want to
better ourselves,
our relationships,
our health,
our finances.

And so
we make
resolutions to
quit smoking,
eat more healthfully,
exercise more (or at all),

finish writing that book
or painting that picture
or gain that skill.

Abraham Lincoln,
stating how busy and
stressed he had been,
made a resolution
to take in more theater.

Darth Vador
made a resolution
to spend more time
with his children.

Okay,
those weren't real.

Woodie Guthrie
made a resolution
to always wash his teeth,
if he had any.

One from Twitter was:

to stop crying during
Google commercials.

Here are some
that have been
floating around
the Internet:

I will avoid taking a bath whenever possible to conserve more water.

I will check my breathing more than my Facebook notifications.

And a telling list-ender:

I promise to stick to these resolutions for more than a week.

Eight days would work.


Here's a quote from
Oscar Wilde:

"Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account."


One statistic estimated that
45% of Americans
make New Year's Resolutions.

And almost all of them
break them.

The sentiments are good,
but they don't last.

Why do you suppose that is?

Well,
a resolution
is not based on
any time
that actually exists.

It's tomorrow
or next week
or next month,

to change yesterday,
last week,
last year,
last decade.

But you can't change
what doesn't exist.

You can change only
what IS where you are,
and you can change it
only right now.

Sure, plans are good:

Next week,
I plan to get groceries.

Tomorrow,
I plan to go to work.

But until you
get in the car,
drive to the store,
and put food items
in your shopping cart,

the getting of groceries
is only a fantasy.

And until you get up
and actually
move your body
to go to work,
working is just
a non-reality
in the head.

And that is why
New Year's Resolutions
are nothing more
than mental sentiments.

You might act on them
in the Now,
and things change
for now.

But as soon as
you do not do
in the present moment,
they are nothing more
than failed imaginations.


2 Corinthians 5:17 (TLS*) says this:

17 Therefore, if any one is dwelling in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away, and observe this: all is eternally new.

The New King James says
"If any one is in Christ."

What does that mean?

Does it mean that
you got saved once?

Does it mean that
you went to church
last week, and
you plan to
go to church next week?

Does it mean that
you call yourself
a Christian?

For many of us,
"In Christ"
is a status,
a label,
an identity.

But the verse says,
"If any one IS IN Christ."

That, first of all,
says "IS."

It means "Right Now."

Then it says,
"IN."

That is a
dwelling place.

Not an identity,
or a label,

but a state of being.

You cannot
reconcile with God
tomorrow.

You can only
dwell in Him
right now.

And when you
cease to dwell
in Him,
right here
and right now,
things quickly
are no longer new.


The other day,
a customer
came through
my line and
asked if I was
getting tired
of all the people
during this
busy shopping season.

I simply replied
that no, because I have
only one customer.

We carry around the past:
such a heavy burden.

We compare what IS,
with what we remember
HAS been.

So, for a cashier,
he or she
doesn't have
just one customer.

They have the last one,
and the one before that,
and the ones
waiting in line
for the imagined future.

They bear the weight
of what they will
need to do
when this customer
leaves,

and the dissatisfaction
with the present moment
caused by fighting
the Now,
and longing for
quiting time
(which doesn't even
exist outside the head).

And so,
nothing is new.

Not really.

Not in the sense
that it is fresh
and alive.

And in that way,
nothing ever
really changes.

Everything is in
a constant state
of decay,
at least in the mind
of the one
who observes it.

And in that state
of not dwelling
in the ever-present
now-ness and
here-ness
of Christ,

what we call "change"
is a usually-losing battle
of epic proportions.

So take a moment,
to let all that go.

Step out of the head,
the attention-drunk
mental processes
that have become
the flesh,

and step into
the temple of God.

Feel the life
in your hands,
in your arms,
in your face,
in your torso,
in your feet,
in your legs;

The breath
is going in;

The breath
is going out.

This is all
that really exists
for you.

The rest is just
a dreadful burden
that exists
inside your head.

And it shouts
that letting it go
is a dangerous
thing to do.

Even for
just this moment.

But right here,
right now,
like a field full
of freshly-fallen snow,

untouched by
the muck and mud
of the
no-longer-existent past,
or the
just-in-the-head future,

Everything is new.

Everything is fresh.

Everything is alive.

Seated with Christ
in heavenly places.

Right here, and
right now.

In that place,
everything is perfect.

And that "everything,"
is the right here,
right now,
that you can feel,
smell,
hear,
see;

And it's not
that it WILL BE
perfect.

That's the
MIND'S idea
of perfection.

"If I lose weight,
THEN my body
will be perfect."

"If I quit smoking,
THEN things
will be right."

"If I get in shape,
get a better job,
repair my relationship,
THEN
everything will be
pretty much perfect."

No it won't be.

Because true perfection
does not come
in a temporary form.

All those things
are passing away.

Yes,
breathing
cigarette-free
fresh air
RIGHT NOW
is a very good
thing to do.

Yes,
foregoing that
hunk of dead
animal corpse
and having
a bowl of rice
and some
steamed vegetables
or fresh fruit
RIGHT NOW
is a very
nice thing to do
for your body,
God's temple.

Yes,
getting off the couch
and moving your body
RIGHT NOW
helps circulate
your blood
and moves life
through your vessel.

But let go of yesterday.

Recognize the
fictitious nature
of tomorrow.

You cannot
dwell in Christ
yesterday
or a minute
into the future.

And you cannot
fully see Christ
through the filter
of the human mind.

All those things
are part of
New Year's Resolutions,
and all those things
are why they
ultimately fail.

Observe the birds
of the air.

While they do
PREPARE for
the future,
they do so
right now.

And when,
right now,
they are not
building a nest,
they they are not
building a nest
in their heads.

The squirrels
don't worry about
the coming winter
as they gather
nuts.

Instead,
they have a nut
in their mouth
as they are running
through the grass.

Now their feet
are touching a tree,
and their claws
catch the bark,
as their bodies
are being pulled
upward.

It is light.

It is care-free.

It is NOW,
and only now.


Jesus taught us
to learn from
His Creation.

The fallen human mind
creates dreadful burdens,
and is addicted to
and somehow
comforted by
them.

But all that is needed,
and indeed,
all that is pure
and perfect
and right,
is to be
fully Present
with His Presence,
in His Temple.

Not taking
so seriously
the manifold voices
shouted to us
by the fallen mind,
by the earth-bound,
form-bound flesh;

But letting them come,
and go;
rise like a puff of steam,
and fade away
like the thick clouds
that are here for a moment,
and then quickly pass away.

And in THAT place,
all things
are eternally new.


So I encourage you
to recognize your resolutions
as nothing more than
nice ideas in the head.

Then let them go,
and dwell in
Eternal Perfection
right here and
right now
instead.