A New Year's Resolution

Posted on 12/30/2018 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


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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.