Good Intentions (Part 1)

Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. (Hebrews 2:1-4 ESV).

I have come to a firm conviction that New Year’s Resolutions simply don’t work very well for me without a daily commitment of my mind followed by intention action. This is not something new for me. In fact, my wife recognized this personality trait years ago. She got me a little wall plaque when I first began full-time ministry that read: “The Road to Hell is Paved with Good intentions.” It has been a consistent reminder for me for nearly five decades. Perhaps you’re a bit like me. Or, perhaps you do make a good start with your resolutions each year and then there’s a small slip and failure and guilt cause you to quit altogether. I would encourage you in that from a spiritual perspective, we must remember we’re not perfect. Perfection is not the goal in this earthly life; we should seek to persevere in our journey. It’s a daily resetting of your mind and soul. It’s trying again when you “fail” and knowing that you can never fail if you’re trying. It is…grace. So, knowing this truth there are a few ideas I’d like to encourage you with as 2018 dawns in replacement of 2017.

First, develop a habit of “counting to ten.” The age-old axiom describing a pause before you speak or act is wise. Our first reactions to things may be influenced by how stressed we are at the moment, what just happened in that meeting or where our blood sugar levels are hovering. In our age of instant messaging to a world-wide audience, this principle has never been so important. We certainly have seen the destructive result of pounding out 140 characters for that scathing retort in a moment of haste. Taking a few seconds to think before speaking takes discipline and practice. But taking time to respond when you feel emotional is a spiritual exercise that will help you be more centered and more caring. I’ve watched twitter and Facebook destroy many relationships.  We all forget sometime that perception is everything in this life we live. What you see as innocent may not translate that way to your boyfriend, girlfriend or boss. Please post and tweet smartly. Before you post or tweet something count to ten! That’s just another way of saying we should think about how others would perceive what we have written.