The New Year brings a desire for new lives, new hearts, new adventures, and new promises. We want to be connected more, weigh less, and stop some annoying habit that we have developed over the last years. We want to be restored.
Psalm 23 talks about our need for “quiet waters” and for restoration of our souls. But if we make new resolutions every year, then what exactly are we trying to be restored to? To what state are we trying to return? If we’ve “always been like this” then what does restoration really look like?
I have a theory.
Because Adam and Eve did what they did, we were stuck with all the needs of being human but, until Jesus, were estranged from the Source of Life. Because we need, and apart from God cannot meet those needs legitimately, we are in bondage to sin. Why do we call it sin if we don’t have a choice? Because God said that anything we do apart from complete faith and trust in Him is sin. If we have no relationship with Him, we cannot stop sinning. Is this harsh? Is it too strong? Only if we don’t know how good the Good News really is. God wants to restore us to our original design. God has offered to restore the connection between Himself and us. He has given us a way to meet our legitimate needs legitimately.
Eugene Peterson wrote a book entitled: The Jesus Way. Great book! He talks about the means of how we do life are more important than the ends. It was not what Jesus accomplished (What Would Jesus Do?) but how Jesus accomplished it. His life reflected a total, sincere, authentic connection with and dependence on the Father. He did nothing on Earth outside His direct connection with His Abba. The better question is, “How would Jesus do it?”
I am praying that God would continue to restore my soul to the how rather than the what. I dream of accomplishing big things for God. And yet, sometimes I feel completely invisible. I often feel very small and insignificant. So if my sense of worth comes from what I accomplish I will be in constant struggle. But if I operate out of a sense that when I fully rely on God for my every need then I am offering the world the life of Jesus on Earth. My day-to-day existence can reflect a holiness that ushers in the Kingdom of Heaven. “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done.” That’s what the quiet waters and restoration are leading us to: holiness, not accomplishment.
So as we engage a new year with new resolutions, we know WHAT we want to accomplish or gain. Let us be good stewards of the HOW. May we own what we need and, rather than finding our own ways to fulfill those needs, learn to take them directly to the Source. He is gentle and tender. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Let us find rest for our souls this New Year. Let us abide rather than strive.