Change—real change—takes place slowly. In first gear, not overdrive. Far too many Christians get discouraged and give up. Like ice skating or mastering a musical instrument or learning to water ski, certain techniques have to be discovered and developed in the daily discipline of living. Breaking habit patterns you established during the passing of years cannot occur in a few brief days. Remember that. “Instant” change is as rare as it is phony.
God did not give us His Word to satisfy our curiosity; He gave it to change our lives. Can you name a couple of specific changes God has implemented in your life during the past six or eight months? Has He been allowed, for example, to change your attitude toward someone . . . or an area of stubbornness . . . or a deep-seated habit that has hurt your home and hindered your relationship with others for a long, long time . . . or a pattern of discourtesy in your driving . . . or a profane tongue . . . or cheating . . . or laziness?
Perhaps a better question would be, “Exactly what changes do you have on your personal drawing board?”—or—“What are you asking the Lord to alter and adjust in your life that needs immediate attention?”[ref]Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, “The Tailor’s Name Is Change,” in Come Before Winter and Share My Hope (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1985), 340.[/ref]
A Note from Colleen: Consider a different focus this next year. In 2012, instead of trying quick-fix, soon-forgotten resolutions, take on the task of surrendering to the Lord and committing each day to His refinement of your soul. Here are some suggestions:
- Read one chapter of Proverbs a day—31 chapters, one month of wisdom.
- Memorize the book of James—it was an assignment given to me in seventh grade. To this day, passages from James direct my words, actions, and thoughts.
- Read in the Bible about all God has promised. With more than 700 promises in the Bible, you’ll have more than one a day for the entire year. Several excellent books have been written just for this purpose of studying God’s promises. Books to consider:
- Bible Promises for You from the New International Version
- The NLT Bible Promise Book
- Bible Promises for Teens