1 To humans belong the plans of the heart,
but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue.
2 All a person’s ways seem pure to them,
but motives are weighed by the Lord.
3 Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
and he will establish your plans.
In our readings and reflections this week, I want to invite you to put into act the instruction found in the first half of the third verse from Proverbs 16. With our entire church family, I want us to challenge ourselves to ”commit to the Lord” whatever plans we would make for this new year. In the message this past weekend I shared some thoughts on how best to embrace God’s gift of a fresh start.
Most of us begin with the question,
“What do I want to be better about my life in this new year?”
And while that question is not a bad starting point, it’s an insufficient place for our reflection to begin. Look again at verse 2. “All a person’s ways seem pure to them.” Have you seen this play out in your own thinking before? In hindsight, have you ever looked back on a decision and thought, “I really worked hard to convince myself that was an incredible idea, but I knew it wasn’t the smartest decision!” Or perhaps you have seen that in a close friend or family member. Maybe you were trying to provide some guidance but at some point, you realized that they were dead set on a particular course of action.
You may have heard mention before about The 12 Steps that are the basis for most recovery programs, but perhaps you are unaware of what groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or our very own Celebrate Recovery ministry would define as the first step. Here it is.
We admitted we were powerless over our addiction and that our lives had become unmanageable.
You are not alone if it sounds strange to believe that change would start here. It goes against the way we so often think. And yet, this is also the place where real faith in Christ originates as well. In the words of scholar NT Wright, faith in Christ is not “a kind of spiritual enhancement for our ordinary life but a radical rescue from a life of imminent disaster.”
Without Christ, our lives are unmanageable, our future is defined by insecurity, and our most thoughtful plans are destined for failure.
So let’s begin this week by taking what must be our first step. Pause for a moment with me and let’s confess together.
Jesus, we need you!
Loving and gracious God, forgive me for buying into the lie that I can handle life on my own. Forgive me for ever seeing you as simply a friend who will make my ordinary life marginally better. As I enter into a new year, enable me to embrace my weakness so that I might also deepen in my dependence on you as Savior of my future and Lord of every part of my life. Weigh each of my motives. Challenge my desires. And in these first few days of a new year, direct the reflections of my heart and mind as I submit to following you in the way that leads to life eternal. AMEN.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ® NIV ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.