Sure of something this new year.

What are you sure of this year? My good friend Chris Nye preached on “God and the Great Unknown” yesterday at WCC (audio forthcoming), where the saints gathered to bring in the New Year with a healthy dose of the Gospel. Certainty is an allusion, one we all cling to, especially when it comes to the circumstances of our lives. Yet even as we live in “uncertain economic times,” we shall pray to God for courage and boldness, and not just for clarity and confirmation (Acts 4:13-20, 29-31). God’s presence is the one thing I am sure of this year.

Should we even make New Year’s Resolutions in these un-sure times? I think so; more to the point, we shall pursue change this year. More on that later this week. There is one thing we Christians must all resolve to do, but before I get to that, let’s consider how the substance and shape of our resolutions have changed over the decades.

The late Woody Guthrie (songwriter, folk music legend, famous for “This Land is Our Land”) sketched out his “NEW YEAR’S RULIN’S” as 1941 drew to a close and his thirtieth year began in 1942. Here’s a glimpse at his list:

1. WORK MORE AND BETTER
2. WORK BY A SCHEDULE
3. WASH TEETH IF ANY
4. SHAVE
5. TAKE BATH
6. EAT GOOD – FRUIT – VEGETABLES – MILK
7. DRINK VERY SCANT IF ANY
8. WRITE A SONG A DAY
9. WEAR CLEAN CLOTHES – LOOK GOOD
10. SHINE SHOES
11. CHANGE SOCKS
12. CHANGE BED CLOTHES OFTEN
13. READ LOTS GOOD BOOKS
14. LISTEN TO RADIO A LOT
15. LEARN PEOPLE BETTER
16. KEEP RANCHO CLEAN
17. DON’T GET LONESOME
18. STAY GLAD
19. KEEP HOPING MACHINE RUNNING
20. DREAM GOOD
21. BANK ALL EXTRA MONEY
22. SAVE DOUGH
23. HAVE COMPANY BUT DON’T WASTE TIME
24. SEND MARY AND KIDS MONEY (his wife and kids did not travel with him; sadly they divorced in ’43)
25. PLAY AND SING GOOD
26. DANCE BETTER
27. HELP WIN WAR – BEAT FASCISM
28. LOVE MAMA
29. LOVE PAPA
30. LOVE PETE
31. LOVE EVERYBODY
32. MAKE UP YOUR MIND
33. WAKE UP AND FIGHT

[via Lists of Note; Image: The Woody Guthrie Foundation; Large version here]

Do you have any resolutions like those? Are you “keeping [your] hoping machine running?”

While that list is kinda fun, here’s one resolution, a goal even, that shall be our great passion in 2012:

“It ought to be the primary goal of every Christian to put aside confidence in works and grow stronger in the belief that we are saved by faith alone. Through this faith the Christian should increase in knowledge not of works but of Christ Jesus and the benefits of his death and resurrection.”

—Martin Luther, The Freedom of the Christian (Minneapolis, 2008), page 55. [Via Ray Ortlund]

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