After a month long season of over-commercialization, over-indulgence, and generally over-doing everything, it’s now time for the season born of self-loathing: time for new year’s resolutions! I hope you each had a great Christmas. I know I did, and I drank way too much eggnog! So I’m trying to wake from my blogging slumber by throwing down some sweet new year’s theology on you now!
We make new year’s resolutions because we recognize that there are things about us that need to change. Maybe you feel the need to go to some gym to enhance your appearance, or find some way to be a better Christian, both of which I can help you with, as I am an expert on being a Christian and needing to go to the gym. Some of us don’t spend enough time with the people we love, so we’ll resolve to have more family dinners. After the first of such dinners, we’ll remember why we quit having family dinners, and resolve to just keep our traps shut and have just one got-dang family dinner without controversy, even if it kills us. The list goes on. There’s probably a lot of resolutions that are held over and reheated from last year.
We make resolutions because we recognize that we are not where we need to be. We become lax, lazy, tired. We fall out of good habits and into bad ones. Our good intentions never get realized. We are constantly shifting, reshaping, reforming, and it’s probably not in a good way unless we reshape ourselves with purpose and determination.
God on the other hand will be making no new year’s resolutions. This is a much more profound idea than it seems on the surface. Think about this: God does not change. (Theology eggheads call this God’s ‘immutability.’) We take it for granted. The scriptures say that all will pass away, the world will be rolled up like a garment, the grass withers and dies, but God remains the same. God says for our sakes he does not change! Not a step to the left or right does God move in who he is!
There is nothing that remains the same! Except God!
Even that doesn’t sound like such a big deal, until we consider how much we change from yeear to year. What if God could change? The implications are staggering! The Bible tells us that God is love, that God wills goodness and salvation for us, that his strength and power are sufficient to work all of his good desires for us. That’s good!
What if God’s ability to invoke his will changed? What if he became less able to create, to rule, to love, to save, to throw down? That would mean that our path to hell is paved with God’s good intentions, but inability to save!
What if God’s intentions changed? What if his intentions in the Bible were benevolent and awesome, but then he changed his mind and became a bad, unloving, unawesome God? Seems rewriting ‘Our God is an Awesome God’ would be the least of our worries. I think we’d know if that happened. Last I checked, the universe still seemed to be in place. What if God just became apathetic – about us, about himself, about ‘being’ love?
Our ability to trust God to save us is fundamentally linked to God’s refusal to change. If he were able or willing to change, he would not be worth worshipping! It is because he is, was, and will always be perfect in love, justice and power that he is worthy of praise. A malleable, changable God would be like the guy at your office that gets one too many promotions until he’s in charge of a bunch of stuff he can’t handle. He was really good at handling small stuff, but now he’s just a buffoon as a manager. He wouldn’t be worthy of love or praise, but pity and contempt.
This New Year’s as you think about all the changes you anticipate in yourself and in your life, be thankful that God’s new year’s day will be just like all the days that preceded it.
What do you think about that? What are you pondering this New Year?