Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 NIV)
It’s the beginning of a new year, and had I made any New Years’ Resolutions, I’m sure by now I would have broken them all. Every year I try so hard. “This is going to be my year.” I plan for the “New Me” and listen to that critical voice in my head that recites what is wrong with me. I make lists all the ways I am going to fix myself.
I know my biggest issue with resolutions is that once they are written down on paper, they become rules or laws. Anyone who knows me knows that I do not like to be told what to do. I bristle. I try to find ways around it. Rules are meant to be broken. I even find myself rebelling against my own daily to-do lists.
In an article I was perusing it mentioned using “themes” instead of resolutions. This resonated with me and as I read further, I realized that these themes were actually what Galatians describes as “fruit of the Spirit.”
There is no rule or law that says you must find joy; but “Joy” can certainly be a theme for the year. Being open to love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control opens us up to community and the world. Resolutions keep us looking inward and finding ourselves wanting. Laws are restricting. Themes are open and inviting.
This year I am leaning towards “Kindness” and “Faithfulness.” There will be no score cards. There will be no rules, no feelings of failure; just the nudging of the Spirit to taste the fruit and be satisfied.
Let us pray...
Loving God, Teach us about the limitless potential for growth living by the Fruits of the Spirit rather than the restrictiveness of judgement of others and ourselves. Guide us to do your will to be encouragers rather than criticizers. In Jesus name, we pray. Amen