New Year's Revolutions

"You, my brothers, were called to be free.  But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love."  Galatians 5:13

My family has had some classic mixups in words.  At one point in her life, my wife enjoyed listening to the rock duo "Hauling Oats" (of course the name of the group is "Hall and Oates", don't worry, she knows now so you don't have to tell her).  This Christmas, my youngest son Tanner was singing along with the Christmas classic Winter Wonderland.  But in the middle of the song he asked my wife, "Who is Possum Brown?" (of course, as you all know, it is Parson Brown who is the snowman/pretend pastor).

So, with that Gillis history, you may be thinking that the title of my blog entry is another one of those mixups.  It's not.  In fact, it helps me to explain some things I want to see in my life for 2008.

rev-o-lu-tion n. one complete turn in the act of revolving //  an unconstitutional overthrow of an established government //  a fundamental social change //  the act of going around in an orbit.

This is a better description of what I want to see happen in my life than the term "resolution."  I have tried resolution and it just doesn't stick to me for some reason (can anyone with a rusty ab roller, cobweb gathering roller blades, or pants that are still on the hanger because they are too tight say amen to that?).

Here's some of what I want to see in me for 2008, and I will use each piece of the definition to describe it:

1.  A Soul Revolution (one complete turn in the act of revolving) - My soul needs to grow.  To breathe.  To awaken even more.  I know that this will only happen if I am committed to solitude in God's presence, and the corresponding relationship features of silence, prayer and Scripture meditation/action.  I have begun my year well in this area, but I will need to continue to press in here so that my soul can live, grow, and completely turn in the direction of Christ.

2.  A Mind Revolution (an unconstitutional overthrow of an established government) - The United Negro College Fund commercials of years past got it right - The Mind is a terrible thing to waste.  The culture tries to press us and our mental government into a mold that is inconsistent with the atmosphere of the kingdom (note Romans 12:1-2 here).  We need to revolt and overthrow that mental governance.  Our sin-tainted vantage point on life needs to be colored and livened by the Spirit of God, and that will only happen with a mind renovation that emanates from the words that God breathed out.  Wrong ideas of God, of people, of ourselves, combined with wrong ideas of God's kingdom, will do harm and sequester growth.  The mind needs to grow with the soul, and the soul with the mind.

3.  A Missional Revolution (a fundamental social change) - I have never been more committed to the mission of every man, woman, and child having repeated opportunities to both see and hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.  That is the hope of the world.  Here in Buffalo, there is a need for fundamental social change (and my guess is, wherever else you may be as well).  We need more of just about everything - justice, jobs, political unity, missional unity.  But these won't be accomplished - can't be accomplished - by just economic or political means.  Men and women, and boys and girls need the freeing demonstration and announcement of the kingdom of God among us.  I want to see it.  I want to BE it.

4.  A Joy Revolution (the act of going around in orbit) - Followers of Jesus are seriously joyful.  C.S. Lewis said that joy is the serious business of heaven.  I want people to sense, taste, touch, and see the joy of Christ in my life.  Not fake smiles - not prepared lines - not pretentious pietism - just authentic, raw, joy in Jesus.  It's contagious when it's not obnoxious.

If these were true of me in 2008, then it will be a good year because I will be one year closer to, and one year more like, Jesus.