And so it is here, the dawning of a fresh, new year with all of its possibilities and opportunities and promise. With all of its hope.
If you're like many around the world, you have grand ideas for a day like today, a plan for how things are going to be different. But not just different, better. And maybe not even just better, but good. The resolutions that we make for ourselves are all centered around this idea - what is good? What is good for me? What is good to do? What is good to get involved in and invest my energies in and sink my time into?
None of us ever decides things just aren't bad enough. Of course not. We're always looking for a greater good.
It's a start, but it's also a deceptive start. The sad truth is that more persons, including most Christians, live with more conviction today than they do for the rest of their lives. Most persons, including Christians, have their greatest conviction on the first day of a new year than they have in the first breath of any given morning. And all because they've decided to give themselves good, and they've decided to cling to it.
There's a lot to be said for what we can learn about ourselves on a day like today, and what we can learn about living as a people of good. The way we cling today to the promises we've made ourselves for good shows us what we're capable of. It shows us how to hold onto something that we've deemed worthwhile. It shows us how to live in light of a new hope, and it gives us practice in doing so.
But if we only ever hold on to the promises that we've made to ourselves, if we only ever cling to our own expectations of good, then we've missed the greatest opportunity and the true greater good.
The conviction that we feel today - that attitude that confidently and passionately and adamantly holds onto what we hope, that will that says yes, we're going to get it, that seeming inability to either give in or give up - that's the kind of conviction we ought to be living with every day. Particularly as Christians.
Particularly in light of the fact that God truly gives us something not just better, but good. Oh, so good.
What if every morning looked like this morning for you? What if every day looked like today? What if you woke up, looked around, realized that today is a day where there's something good going, and you decided to cling to that with everything you've got? Every day.
What if we were a people who lived holding on to the promises that God has made us for good, promises that don't depend entirely upon our will to go out and get them? What if we were a people who believed that every day holds the same promise, the same hope, the same opportunities as this one, and we lived each day to the good things wrapped in that day?
The truth is that God has already promised us greater good even than we have promised ourselves. We get excited about the ideas that we have because they're usually very meaningful for us - we don't make our resolutions on a whim; they matter. God's goodness? It's good, but...it doesn't always make as much sense. At least not right away.
But what if it did? What if we believed that every good and perfect gift from above is ours for a reason, because it matters, because it's meaningful for us? What if we believed that the good in every day, like the good in today, was something worth holding onto? What if we locked into the promise of Heaven, to the notion that love lives here now, to the call on our lives to live in the fullness of His glory? Not just today; today is too easy. We've tricked ourselves into believing it's somehow different.
What if...every day? What if every day, we lived with the same conviction, the same passion, the same hope, the same energy that we will live with today - to go out and get the good things God has promised us and to cling to them with all we've got? Not giving up, not giving in, not letting go.