If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.
Colossians 3:1-2 NAS
New Year resolutions are sometimes tough. We are so used to setting new and ambitious goals for the New Year and then having them disintegrate in the proverbial two week “try” or they are ignored completely. I find that most people don’t even want to bother anymore because they have failed to get it done so many times that there is no point.
Of course this says more about us than it does about setting new goals in life. We have taught ourselves that failure and lack of follow through is ok because “they were not essential goals in the first place”. They are things I would like to do but not things that I have to do in order to grow or change… at least in the way we tend to think about them.
Personally, I do NOT set New Year resolutions for the simple reason that I am constantly working on adjustments in my life all the time. I don’t really wait until the New Year to decide that something needs to change. In fact, wisdom would tell me that every single day is new adventure to discover the transforming power of Christ in me – I am, in one sense, setting meaningful goals every single day (hopefully at the prodding of the Spirit of God) in order to become more like Christ.
If you notice the verse I introduced above (Colossians 3:1-2) I believe sets a precedent for believers that is not so much about New Year resolutions but spiritual focus. The focus here is not so much about self-improvement but godly transformation. If you notice back in Colossians 2:20 the idea of setting out a bunch of rules (maybe new goals) and regulations we are going to live by has the appearance of doing the right thing but ultimately will not bring about the kind of change that is essential for me to be like Christ (Colossians 2:20-23).
The motivation for life change (for the Christian or Christ follower) begins with what we set our minds on. Our focus makes a big difference in any area of life but it is certainly indispensable if we are to make gains in this life and for the life to come (3:1-4). The Scriptures point us to something outside of ourselves and for things that are NOT about just self-fulfillment or self-gain (even though we will gain much in doing so).
The motivation for life change is about seeking eternal not the temporal. Life here is short and moving fast. We have only one shot at pulling this together and for some people that is not working out so well. Even for those who seem to do ok there are complications in our life that we cannot resolve on our own. Loneliness, purpose, value, identity cannot be solved by the stuff of this life.
The reality is that for the Christian if you are not heavenly minded you will not be any earthly good. Many of you have probably heard of the old saying “that person is so heavenly minded they are no earthly good”. And we get the fact that some people are so “out there” waiting for some magical revelation or experience that they become useless in engaging real life. But the reality here is that if we are not heavenly minded we are ill-equipped to make any difference here at all.
The motivation for what we do here now lies in preparing for life with God after. I know this sounds pretty ethereal too but the fact is that the more we get focused in on the material issue of this life the danger is that we become absorbed with this life and not living for Christ. There are few things that are more frustrating to the Lord than to have someone claim they know Him and live like He does not exist or impact their life at all.