[Note from Jack Flacco: Laura Lindblom attends Shiloh Free Lutheran Church in Summerset, South Dakota and is this week’s guest contributor for Looking to God.]
At the start of a new year, nothing is more evident than the almost universal hunger for change. Out goes the old year and in comes the new, and the clean slate ahead acts as a sort of catalyst for making adjustments and setting fresh, exciting goals and kicking old habits and establishing new ones. And then that first week goes by, maybe three or four, and we slip back into all our old ways. Our new habits prove not to be habits after all, and we settle back into the comfort of normalcy.
The desire for change is a good thing. But what is behind it? Are we motivated by a desire to please God to a greater degree or to please self to a greater degree? Are we motivated by a desire to think more Biblically about ourselves or to feel better about ourselves? Are we hungering to praise God with our lives or to have others praise us instead?
As we embark on this clean slate of a New Year, let us ponder these words from Colossians:
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
How radically our lives would be transformed if we would truly grasp those words! As if whatever you do was not all encompassing enough, Paul specifies that he is referring to both word or deed, and then, as if that was not clear enough, he says do everything. Do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Every word that comes out of our mouth should be in submission to and in the name of our loving Savior, and every deed that we do, likewise is to be in submission to Christ. The way we speak, the words and tone of voice, our body language, our attitudes, our money choices, how we recreate, what we fill our mind with in our free time, the books we read, our work ethic, all are to be in the name of our Savior. Everything we do bears witness, however well, however poorly, to our profession of faith.
And then finally, Paul admonishes his readers to do these things, giving thanks to God. Our heart should be one of thankfulness towards God, and that thankfulness towards God and our love for Him should be the catalyst for our Christ-honoring words and deeds.
So, as we make our New Year’s resolutions, let us check them against this beautiful verse. We are to continually seek Christ, seek a greater and deeper relationship with Him, seek to do everything in the name of Christ our Lord, and much will follow. Be encouraged, knowing that we are not alone in this, for we as Christians know the Author of true change. “[F]or it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).