Life is about learning and coming to truth about life. About a year ago I sat down to do what I have done every end of a year for – forever. That is, write out goals for the upcoming year. But this time, the whole process seemed, silly. Let me qualify “silly”. I am big on goals. I am always pushing people to set and reach goals. So the silly part is that, every year the process is the same and every year a few of those goals get met and more than a few get swept away by life.
This realization pointed me to something that has really made a difference in my approach to a new year: The calendar has no authority to give us a new year. If I am a mess and/or lacking on December 31st, the ball dropping at midnight in Times Square doesn’t change that. As I thought more about my own life I came to understand that the date of the calendar can not make my year neither Happy nor New. In truth, I can live 2014 again unless I make a change in 2015. And even more startling is if I have not changed my perspective of God for the last 5,10, 20 years, then I might be living 2004 or even1975 – over again.
In order to have a true change, there has to be a true change in my perspective of God. I think about what Job said at the end of his time of enormous trial, “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you;” (Job 42:5). Before Job lost all that he owned and he was known as the richest, wisest man of the East, he knew God through what he had heard. But on the back end of being restored from losing his income, wealth, health, houses and 10 children he saw God for himself. It is that sort of changed experience that moves us to real change.
How we Approach Change
The problem with how we approach change in the New Year is that it is typically, all self directed. I decide I want to lose weight, get a new job, fix my credit and get a new house. All noble aspirations but how do I know these are the places and ventures that God wants me to place my time and energy toward? Much of our approach is us determining the course we will take and then inviting God to open the doors and bless the decisions we have already made. “Dear God, now that I have decided to get a new job, I want you to bless me on the interview.”
Again, Job provides a good backdrop to seeing this differently. In the very first verse of the book of Job, God has this to say about Job, “There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.” Three truths that God will restate to Satan, twice also. And here is what I learned from that about making change in my own life. What God knows about Job from the beginning, everyone else in his life will contradict. God knows Job has integrity (blameless), reveres God and turns from doing wrong. But, Satan will estimate that Job only fears because all God has protected Job from anything bad happening. Furthermore, Satan estimates (2:1-7) that sickness can make Job curse God. Next, Job’s wife wants to know why he is holding on to his integrity and for another 36 chapters, Job’s friends will insist he is an impatient, sinful, unrighteous man that does not fear God and does not revere God. Their collective summation is that material possessions, health and public opinions mean more to Job than his relationship with God. However, God knew what Satan, a spouse, three friends, a young man named Elihu and even Job himself did not know. What they didn’t get was his character, relationship and righteous ways – but God knew.
Here is what I take from it all. God knows us better than we know our selves. We, like Job, spend the balance of our life trying to learn what God has known about us from the beginning. That reality causes us to look at New Year’s Resolutions and Goals differently. This year spend time learning of God more than trying to get your self right. And as we learn more of the One that made us and has known us since our mother’s womb, our lives are changed as we say, I heard about God before but now I know Him for myself.