Yes, I know. It is that time of the year again. The list is made. All the wonderful resolutions for the year. What do they call it now? – resolution dining. Diet is so last year. Even when all the plans and good intentions of last year this time have failed miserably or maybe worked out with minimum satisfaction, is it time to make new agreements with that very difficult partner called Self. Here we go again.
It is, of course, exactly what a resolution is – an agreement, a contract if you prefer. It is an articulated decision to embark on something or some behaviour in the future. In the normal course of life, one needs a professional person with specialist knowledge, like a lawyer, to assist you in the process of making a contract. We are, however, very comfortable to make such a pronouncement with ourselves without any input from a professional. Maybe we can measure the success of our previous resolutions to this very fact. Let us have a look at these agreements and the role players of the future.
Nobody can decide for us. The normal flow of life and our daily routine are determined by our own decisions. Of course, life can change dramatically through crises and unexpected drama from outside our realm of decision. In a certain sense that is also “normal”. No man is an island, writes John Donne. We are not the only players in our lives. Every day other people invade our space at work and at home. Those people influence our decisions and agreements and often are an integral part of the content of our self-agreements.
The picture grows more complicated. To the same measure that our decisions are influenced by others, their lives are shaped or, at the very least, touched by our decisions. The people in our lives make our lives more complex and their agreements with themselves, define their role in our lives. If we could draw our relationships and influences with everyone and everything around us, it would indeed be an intricate web of gauzy and delicate weaving, with maybe a few loose strands and a few crosswise threads. Perhaps you feel your web of relationships is a prison or you experience so many gaps, you do not know how to rise above and heal it. It is these uncertainties in a business transaction that demand the input of a specialist to write a contract to cover all conceivable scenarios. Why then, shall we embark on our life path without any advice or wisdom? Our agreements with Self and the world are those that govern our inner peace and joy. Where is the guidance, the truth, the ancient paths to equip us to make the right decisions for now, to bring assurance and a life without fear in the mystery of the future?
“Because My people have forgotten Me,
They have burned incense to worthless idols.
And they have caused themselves to stumble in their ways,
From the ancient paths,
To walk in pathways and not on a highway, (Jeremiah18:15)
Thus says the Lord: “Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ (Jeremiah 6:16)
There is a path. There are signposts and landmarks. There is truth that has been proven over centuries. There is certainty within the mystery. There is a guarantee for a victorious ending. There is excellence in brokenness. There is a better way.
“Set up signposts, make landmarks; Set your heart toward the highway, the way in which you went. Turn back, O virgin of Israel, Turn back to these your cities. (Jeremiah 31:21)
Let us read the promise of the ancient paths. Isaiah 35 is a chapter of blessing when your life decisions line up with the Word of God.
It is not only a path of healing and restoration, but beauty and excellence to crown it all. It is a pathway of certainty – even fools will not get lost! It is a highway, a way that gives easy access to the Truth, through the desert. It is a pathway for the soul in the unseen.
There will be a highway
called the Holy Road.
No one rude or rebellious
is permitted on this road.
It’s for God’s people exclusively—
impossible to get lost on this road.
Not even fools can get lost on it. (Isaiah 35:8, The Message)
It is the path, the promise of direction and guidance. It is the guarantee of success even when you make mistakes. It is the most important decision in your life to walk this path.
Isn’t this the resolution you need? A simple prayer to surrender your life to God. A prayer of submission to the Truth and the ancient path that leads to him. A prayer like this, was made possible by the Cross of Jesus.
It is the only way to walk the path of blessing. The Cross is always the beginning and the end and everything in between. The path is the guarantee for protection and provision for every aspect of life.
You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me. (Psalms 139:5)
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.” (Psalms 91:1,2)
It is the most important contract for the year ahead. This agreement with the Almighty God and the signposts of the ancient paths is the most significant resolution you will ever make.
It is top of the list.
Dive deep into Isaiah 35 – all ten verses. Drink it, eat it, write it on your heart. Read it every day for ten days.
The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them,
And the desertshall rejoice and blossom as the rose;
2 It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice,
Even with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
The excellence of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
The excellency of our God.
[Submit all your concerns and fears to this promise]
3 Strengthen the weak hands,
And make firm the feeble knees.
4 Say to those who are fearful-hearted,
“Be strong, do not fear!
Behold, your God will come with vengeance,
With the recompense of God;
He will come and save you.”
[Think on every person you regard as an enemy – submit them to God]
5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
6 Then the lame shall leap like a deer,
And the tongue of the dumb sing.
For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness,
And streams in the desert.
[Confess your blindness, deafness and lameness before God and ask him to heal you. Stand up, raise your hands and sing a worship song]
7 The parched ground shall become a pool,
And the thirsty land springs of water;
In the habitation of jackals, where each lay,
There shall be grass with reeds and rushes.
[Surrender your life to God. Your inner being will be changed. Instead of a desert in your soul, living water will flow from you. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. (John 7:38)]
8 A highway shall be there, and a road,
And it shall be called the Highway of Holiness.
The unclean shall not pass over it,
But it shall be for others.
Whoever walks the road, although a fool,
Shall not go astray.
9 No lion shall be there,
Nor shall any ravenous beast go up on it;
It shall not be found there.
But the redeemed shall walk there,
[Declare your desire to walk the path of God. In prayer with the simple words of a true heart, ask the Holy Spirit to lead you to the holy Highway]
10 And the ransomed of the Lord shall return,
And come to Zion with singing,
With everlasting joy on their heads.
They shall obtain joy and gladness,
And sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
[Do not allow the cares of life to steal your joy. Your surrender will bring release in your inner being. Trust God with EVERYTHING. He is more willing to answer your prayer than you are to pray it.]
Be greatly blessed in 2020.