Counter-intuitive Resolutions for the New Year…

I’ve thought of two resolutions, although they’re not new.

A couple of weeks ago during a staff meeting at Love INC, we were talking about what 2015 might hold — both for the ministry and personally.

A thought came to me: A just want to be dumber and weaker. These are my resolutions for the coming year (and beyond).

I’m discovering that the older I get, the less I know. Yes, I may have gained more knowledge in the world’s eyes by taking various classes or by learning through “the school of hard knocks,” but in the deep things of life, I know very little. And as I get older, I see that I will never have the answers… at least not on this side of heaven.

Through schooling, experience, and through trial and error (mostly error), I’ve learned a few things, but just enough to be dangerous. I can just as easily stick my foot in my mouth today as I could twenty years ago. I can just as easily rush into a bad situation and make it worse. But worse than anything, I can think that I can get by on my own smarts and cleverness. I easily think that I can figure things out on my own. I can easily fall into the trap of trying to pull myself up by my bootstraps, independent of any help from God (who gave me any smarts or abilities I may have in the first place).

I want to go into every situation I face in the coming year with zero preconceived notions, and with both ears wide open ready to listen to those around me and most importantly, to hear the voice of God. I want to hear God’s still, small voice. I want His wisdom to guide my decision-making this year.

Secondly — and surely entwined with being “dumber” in the coming year — I want to be weaker. I want to be slow and prayerful to react to the chaos around me (sometimes called “life”). I can easily fall into the trap of trying to work things out by myself. I can easily fall prey to thinking that by trying harder, re-doubling my efforts, or “cleaning up my act”, I can earn some sort of special favor with God. I can easily think that I can just “make things happen.”

I don’t want to solve problems by myself. I want to be dependent on God’s strength, His wisdom and His promises. I want to rely on those God has placed in my life and partner with them. I want to hear their wisdom and make use of their talent, if possible. I am inherently flawed. I know this. I am genetically sinful. Again – on this side of heaven – I will never be free of those characteristics. I am weak. That’s why I need Jesus and His grace, His strength, and the power of the Holy Spirit. I need it… desperately.

So, it may be counter-intuitive, but I want to be dumber and weaker in 2015. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll catch a glimpse of God working… and He will get (and deserve!) all the glory.


Have you ever taken a water safety course with lifesaving skills? The instructors teach you skills that they would teach a lifeguard. I was thinking about these skills and instructions when I read a headline about a drowning.

You’ve probably heard that when you jump in the water to save someone from drowning and swim to the scene, you spin them around with their head above water and their back facing you. Then you pull them, swimming back to dry ground, with your arm wrapped under their chin.

Sounds easy, right? I’ve never had to use those skills, but I can imagine that it would NEVER be easy. The most common obstacle in saving someone who is drowning is the person themselves. Normally, experts say, when you arrive on the scene, the drowning person is flailing away, trying desperately to keep their head above water. In their desperation to save themselves, they drastically hinder the efforts of the lifeguard. It’s only when they are disarmed, that the lifesaver can pull them to safety.

So it is with our spiritual lives. It’s only when we come to the end of ourselves that we realize the need for the Savior. It’s only when we stop our flailing that our Lifesaver is able to save us. It’s only when we stop trying to save our self that the One who can save us can do what He came to do: seek and save the lost. It’s only when we realize that we are drowning that we can allow the Lifeguard to save us.

This not only applies to our initial encounter with God’s grace, mercy, and salvation, but also to our everyday walk with God as Jesus-followers, allowing the Holy Spirit to have His way in our lives. It’s only in weakness that God shows His strength. It’s in adversity when God gets to show His glory. Again, it’s when we realize that we are drowning without Him that He can rescue us. It’s only when we allow Him to have His way that He can show us who He truly is.

All our own efforts can’t. All our flailing can’t keep our head above water. Believe me; I know.

We can only be rescued when we allow Him to wrap His arm around us and pull us to dry ground.

“My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9, The Message)

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. (Isaiah 43:2)

Fight Like a Man

I have a men’s devotional booklet at work that my friend and riding buddy, Paul, gave me. I’ve used it a few times when I’ve a free minute or two, which is rare these days. I was looking at its cover, and, as you can see, it has a boxer on the cover with the words, “Come Out Fighting.”

Those words appeal to men. We want to fight. We want to fight for what’s right. We want to fight for our honor. We want to fight for our families. Our heroes (which aren’t only men) want to fight for our country, for our freedom, for our way of life. We want to fight.

But I think that title may give the wrong impression. I think that for 95% of the “Christian Soldiers”, fighting means praying harder, trying harder, having more faith, or serving in as many ways as possible. While prayer and service are wonderful things, showing us the heart of God, many times we do them in our own strength. We engage in spiritual warfare with naivety, praying louder and louder, thinking that we can shout down our enemy, Satan. We serve others at a frantic pace, hoping that by doing more, we become more acceptable to God.

I say, “WE”, because I include myself. I’ve been guilty of this most of my Christian life. But I’m discovering that, first and foremost, I’m acceptable by God just as I am right now. I don’t need to do anything else. In fact, as I’ve said before, there’s nothing I can do to make me more acceptable or less acceptable to God. He loves me and accepts me RIGHT NOW, with all my flaws, with all my mistakes, and with all my weaknesses. (Romans 8:38-39)

In fact, that’s where the Jesus-follower fights from: a position of weakness. It is from a posture of weakness that God can truly show His strength. It is through weakness that His power is made perfect (2Corinthians 12:9-10). We can come humbly and boldly to the throne of grace and find mercy and grace in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:16). And in doing so, we can have a confidence that in our weakness, we can “fight the good fight” that the apostle Paul talks about (1Timothy 6:12, 2Timothy 4:7)

It’s counter-intuitive, but as Jesus-followers, that is where the fight is won: a position of weakness.

2 Corinthians 12:10 NIV:
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.