To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NKJV)
The Roman mythical god-king Janus, for whom the first month of the year is named, had two faces, which allowed him to look both forward and backward. He was the god of doorways and gates. He was made the namesake for obvious symbolic reasons: Janus could both look back on the past year’s events and forward to the future.
Janus and the New Year season became connected with the notion of resolutions. Although the number of people making New Year's resolutions is large, the actual number who keep them dwindles to a mere 14% in a short time.
Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley did an experiment some time ago that involved introducing an amoeba into a perfectly stress-free environment: ideal temperature, optimal concentration of moisture, constant food supply.
The amoeba had an environment to which it had to make no adjustment whatsoever. So you would guess this was one happy little amoeba. Whatever it is that gives amoebas ulcers and high blood pressure was gone.
Yet, oddly enough, it died.
Apparently there is something about all living creatures, even amoebas, that demands challenge. We require change, adaptation, and challenge the way we require food and air. Comfort alone will kill us. (Study source: Chris Peterson, "Optimism and By-pass Surgery," in Learned Helplessness: A Theory for the Age of Personal Control
[New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1993])
Nature teaches us that in all of life there is need for change. Ecclesiastes states there is a time and a season for everything under the sun. The earth continues to revolve, the universe continues to move forward through space, time keeps marching on, and we continue to advance in age. With all the advancements going on around us, if we are not moving forward we are actually falling behind.
When Israel was constantly moving in the wilderness, as they followed God, they ran into very few spiritual problems. It was after they got settled and established that they quickly fell away from God and started to follow after foolishness.
We can never arrive at where we need to be if we continually return to where we have already been. We need to keep moving forward as God continues to lead us onward.
Jesus said, "come follow me." We must take up our crosses and make the journey into the unknown with our God who is all knowing and all caring. God has a plan for each of our lives, and the church corporate, if we chose to follow after His leading.
Apart from the Lord's leading we are left to our own aimless wanderings. Although our plans and ideas seem good to us they certainly pale in comparison to God's plans and purposes for our lives.
"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." Jeremiah 29:11
As we turn the pages of our calendars let our resolutions be to go wherever He leads. To follow the paths He sets before us. Let us allow God to mold us into His image and likeness. Let us not be like Janus, double minded and double sighted. Wanting the good that lies ahead while constantly longing for and holding onto the past.
God miraculously rescued Israel from Egyptian servitude and led them to the promised land only to have to listen to them murmur and complain about how harshly God was treating them. They even preferred to return to Egypt rather than continue on to the land God had promised them.
God's ways are certainly not our ways and for that we can be thankful. God does require us to transform our thoughts and actions to conform with His. It is this need for change that most people resist even though every year they make vows to change.
We all know we need change yet many of us - a full 86% - fail to make any substantial changes in our lives.
If your religion does not change you, then you should change your religion. Elbert Hubbard. Leadership, Vol. 15, no. 4.
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