I have a friend who is great at asking that “juice & squeeze” question at just the right time. It seems to me that New Year’s is one of those “just the right times”.
This time of year, I get to thinking about how I am ordering my life, and what I am aiming for.
These thoughts of mine intersect with the annual ritual of New Year’s Resolutions. Whether you make New Year’s Resolutions or take a pass on that activity, the idea is certainly in the news.
The Top Five New Year’s Resolutions are reported to be:
- Living Healthier
- Personal Improvement or Happiness
- Losing Weight
- Career Goals
- Financial Goals
And then we can add to the goals, all the advice on why you should make some resolutions, and further, how to then go about keeping them.
Much of the advice revolves around establishing routines, rhythms, and even rules that you order your life by.
The question to ask – which I think comes upstream of the specific resolution you and I might make – “is the juice worth the squeeze?”
In other words, because effort is required to achieve the result, I go back to wondering about my aim. Am I aiming at the most important aspect of my life?
As I look at the Top Five resolutions, they are certainly results oriented. It doesn’t take much to notice they are about me. I want to feel better, look better, have a better job, and have more financial success—in all it is about me improving (or at least feeling as if I have improved).
They don’t seem to involve others.
Yet what if we asked ourselves, “What relationship(s) are most important to us? What is the state of that (those) relationship(s)?”
If I could be so rude as to ask, “How is your relationship with God?”
I believe we are built for eternity – eternity with God and with others. (I even have crazy thoughts that in eternity I won’t have to watch what I eat, i.e., no New Year’s Resolutions required – LOL).
Returning to the question regards my (your) relationship with God, the Scriptures tell us, right after Jesus left the earth and the Holy Spirit filled the disciples – they – the disciples and the many people with them:
“Devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, and to the breaking of bread and the prayers”. Acts 2:42 ESV
We should all be in a biblical church, weekly. We should be in a fellowship of believers that over the course of the week meet for study and prayer and service.
But there is more.
It is too easy for me to attend church as a consumer. I need a daily routine of:
- Daily Devotional Bible reading: to be in the “apostles’ teaching”.
- Daily Prayer: to one-on-one submit myself to the Lord.
- Daily ask God to show me the person I should share my faith with.
I know hundreds of people that practice these three steps. I have been to some of their funerals. The stories of their impact on others are many. Their lives scream of a faithful walk with, and witness to, God!
As we start this New Year, I want to suggest that this sort of “juice” is worth the squeeze.