Turning New Year's Resolutions into Jesus Conversations
Christmas provides natural opportunities to have conversations about Jesus. But I think January also provides an excellent opportunity to talk about Jesus. In January, everyone is still talking about their New Year’s resolutions: what they are, how to keep them, and how they are already failing to keep them. You hear these conversations at church, at work, and at home. My contribution to these conversations centers around one theme: I talk about my One Thing. My resolution is only one thing every year. Forget about the past and go for the gold.
There are at least three ways to turn that resolution into a discussion about Jesus.
Admit that I stole the idea. If talking to Christians, I go to Paul’s statement in Philippians 2. This grounds the rest of our conversation in Scripture. If talking to non-believers, I tell them I got the idea from a guy in the Bible. Now we are talking about the Bible and how it relates to life.
Forget the past. One of the amazing things about following Jesus is that we are freed from our past. Bad choices, wrong decisions, sin, shame, guilt--all those things that fill lives with pain and regret--they are made right in Jesus. Baby Jesus coming to save us from our sins in wonderful. Being freed from our past is the blessing of that forgiveness. Of course, this is also a valuable conversation to have with many Christians who have trouble letting go of their past mistakes and failings.
Go for the gold. I am running for the finish line and I will win. This world is not my final destination. There is life after death. It will be better. This world is a hard, scary, cruel place. People need the hope, peace, joy, and love that Jesus brings. My life has purpose and meaning because of Jesus. That is the conversation I want to have with those who do not know him. I want to let them know they are invited to share in the Jesus life both now and forever. This is also the conversation I want to have in my church family. Renew our focus; remember the one thing that matters.
God has called us into relationship with him through the gift of Jesus. Let’s use every opportunity to remind ourselves of this. And let’s take every chance we get to introduce others to this gift.
One thing: because of Jesus I get to forget the past; because of Jesus I get to go home and live forever. So I resolve to focus on that this year.
And that is a resolution worth talking about.