I was reading a newspaper this morning when this headline caught my eye: "Fifty simple ways to change your life in 2009". I was interested. So, I clicked on the article and scanned over the list. It dealt mostly with changing your physical health. #1 was to start drinking diet coke instead of regular soft drinks. (I chuckled as I read that because I have many friends including my wife who would go ballistic about such a suggestion...all the dangers of nutrasweet and stuff, you know?) There were others that were pretty good...eat more fruits and vegetables at every meal...don't skip breakfast...park further from your office so you have to walk more.
That got me to thinking, though. Why do we spend so much time and energy and newspaper space talking about changing a physical body that will eventually wear out no matter what we do? Don't get me wrong. I am a believer in caring for your body and "taking care of the temple." But I thought it might be apropos for me to share "Five simple ways to change your (spiritual) life in 2009. (Couldn't make it to fifty--you wouldn't read that far). So, here they are:
1. Fall in love with Jesus. You might expect that to be the first one but there are many of us "religious" types who don't have a clue about what it means to really be in love with the Savior. Love is not based on your performance or His. It's a decision you make to follow Him.
2. Read your Bible regularly. I'm not even going to say every day so that you don't get legalistic and beat yourself up. But read it at least as regularly as you read the paper or your favorite magazine. This book can change your life radically...but it does no good sitting on a shelf.
3. Pray with your family EVERY day. Okay, don't fall into legalism here. If you miss, start the next day. If you miss that day, start the next. If you miss again, call your pastor and confess. (just kidding. Lighten up).
4. Go to church every week you can. The Bible said don't give up the meeting together that you have become accustomed to. It also said that this is MORE important as we approach the end of time. We all get sick or go on vacation from time-to-time but your ball game, your hobby, your sleeping and your laziness aren't going to draw you closer to the Savior. (see #1)
5. Quit letting others dictate your happiness. This is going to be a tough year for many of us. Lisa and I are already feeling the pinch of finances. But our joy isn't found in a bank account or a house. It's found in (surprise) #1. I can't let my friends, my boss, the performance of my favorite team or my financial position dictate my joy.
BONUS (just because you read this far): Learn to live by grace. Many of us start out this way but we wind up falling back on performance and legalism. Grace was meant to set us free. It's hard to live in freedom where there is no grace. More on this later.
Have a happy, healthy 2009. Thanks for reading as we take this journey!