"As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem Luke 9:51"
Listen to: For King and Country "Shoulders"
So how are those New Year’s resolutions going? To lose weight or get to the gym? To declutter the closets? To spend more time with the children-grandchildren/parents/friends? To pay off debt? To pray more frequently?
The good news is that as we conclude the first week of January, 75 percent of us will have kept our resolutions. Not surprising, this figure decreases as the year goes on. After six months 46 percent of us will be plugging away at our resolutions. Change is hard, messy, and often requires reinforcement and multiple times of falling and getting back up again in order to succeed. Good resolutions require effort. The transformation we long for as a result of our efforts - and God's - can seem to take forever.
The Gospel of Luke tells us of one of Jesus' main resolutions -- his destiny, really. To go to Jerusalem. This trip wasn’t for pleasure or for visiting family. This trip, Jesus knew, would result in his being rejected, arrested, put to death, and ultimately his rising again (Luke 9:21-22). Jesus’ motives would be misunderstood by his very disciples, who would abandon him, betray him and deny him. Yet Jesus maintained his resolution. This resolution transformed Jesus into our messiah - our savior - the One crucified and risen on our behalf.
Who could hold fast to such a resolution? One leading to suffering and death instead of a better personal life? I doubt there are many of us that could make and keep the kind of resolution Jesus had. Yet Jesus’ resolution was to follow his destiny. Because he was clear with himself what he had come to do and bear witness to, Jesus was able to embrace the hardships as well as moments of success.
Ultimately, have we made it our resolution to follow our destiny – which is about more than losing weight, decluttering the closet or having less debt. We can get weighed down in the minutia of life if we are not careful. The New Year asks us to find our destiny. Seek it out. Follow it. Make pursuing that path our number one resolution. Pursuing our destiny leads to transformation.
What is your destiny? Where do you see your life heading? If we don’t like the direction our life is going, we can change lanes. All this requires time for discernment, prayer, searching your heart’s desires and your dreams. There is no greater investment we can make than to discover our destiny and resolve to pursue it, like Jesus did. We are given one, precious life. We are created for a purpose. There is nothing more important we can do than living our lives with the same dedication and purpose toward loving service that Jesus modeled for us.
Perhaps our resolution this year should be to discover what our destiny is. How does God want to use us? What are God’s plans for our life as the prophet Jeremiah once pronounced in 29:11: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
How will our actions, our love, our resources contribute to the healing and transformation of our souls, our families, our communities and ultimately our planet? Our destiny lies somewhere therein.
Take time this year to figure out where life is taking you. Then with all resolve, follow your soul’s destiny just like Jesus did.
May that be one resolution we all keep this year: "be transformed by the renewal of your minds" (Romans 12:2).
Pray: God of our Destiny: Show each of us what you have created us to do. Give us the strength and determination of Jesus to follow through to completion. Amen.