2014. A New Year. A fresh start. A time for changes, and, of course, resolutions. More than 40 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions each year. Perhaps you have made some resolutions for 2014? Resolutions are all about transformation. It is seeing areas in your life that need to improve and resolving to do better.
Usually, when we make New Year’s resolutions, we pick “big” things. Lose weight, stop smoking, save money, be a better husband or wife or parent or friend. And that’s okay. But here’s what’s interesting. The most significant part of our life does not consist of the “big” things but the “small” — small moments, small decisions, seemingly small actions and reactions. I would not hesitate to say that the small things will probably make up 98 percent of your life in 2014.
Tiny things can have big consequences. There is a verse in the Song of Solomon that reads, “Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom" (Song of Solomon 2:15). This wise king speaks of how the slight foxes can damage the tender flowers of the vineyard, and thus destroy the crop. One writer explains this proverb well: “The enemies may be small, but the mischief done great. A little spray of blossom, so tiny as to be scarcely perceived, is easily spoiled, but thereby the fruitfulness of a whole branch may be forever destroyed. And how numerous the little foxes are! Little compromises with the world; disobedience to the still small voice in little things; little indulgences of the flesh to the neglect of duty; little strokes of policy; doing evil in little things that good may come; and the beauty and the fruitfulness of the vine are sacrificed!”
Almost all of life consists of fleeting moments and little decisions — not momentous moments and grand decisions. Therefore, for the Christian, these thousands of tiny choices are very significant — to follow God, to trust God, to rest in His love … or not. That will be 98 percent of your life in 2014. It will not be enormous choices and grand sacrifices or a few big resolutions you might make that will define and shape your life in 2014; it is the thousands, even hundreds-of-thousands, of small ones.
Will I watch this TV show now or will I pray? Will I obey the Lord or follow my own desire right now? Will I spend this money on myself or ask the Lord what to do? Will I pray this morning or check email? Will I say hello to that person who looks sad or just keep moving? Will I read my Bible for five or 10 minutes? Will I go to church or sleep in? Will I be honest with this person or tell a small lie? Will I be pure or sleep with this guy or girl? Will I repent of this sin or try to hide it? Will I get angry sitting in this traffic or remain calm and thank God He is in control of all circumstances? Will I love this person in front of me today? Will I give this week at church? Will I look at this website (which I probably shouldn’t)? Will I speak words of kindness to this person who has hurt me? Will I answer my spouse with gentleness or harshness? Of course, the list goes on and on.
Followers of Christ know that they need Jesus all the time (we are really weak and dependent folks). Jesus said that apart from Him we can do nothing (little or great); but if we abide in Him and His Word, we will bear much fruit (John 15:5). It is in the small moments and choices that our hearts and lives are truly shaped. If we only turn to Jesus for the big things, we will hardly turn to Him at all. But if we look to Jesus and His grace in the small (minute by minute) times, we will always be looking to Him, always crying out to Him, always trusting Him. And as we walk with Him, we will change in big ways in 2014 … and beyond.
James Calderazzo is pastor of Safe Harbor Presbyterian Church in Destin. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.