All Things New!
A New Year's Devotional & Habit Planner
Because he has come,
everything can change.
Sunday | December 29
Romans 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (NIV)
This is a beautiful and stunning passage on change. First, because it anchors change in the motive of the gospel. We are not working towards newness so that we can prove something. That would be about us. We are working towards newness because of what God has done. In light of his mercies, in light of his love, in light of what he did for us - so we now go and do.
Second, this passage highlights one of the most important realities of formation - conforming to patterns. This is the image of being made in the mold of something. Imagine a cookie cutter. This is important, because much of our life unfolds in habits, patterns, and molds of acting. We usually have very little idea of how much of our life is one big way of conforming to patterns. For example, we may say, “I want to lose 10 pounds.” And we may be very motivated by this goal to exercise. But if we fail to understand that what is really going on is we are in a (potentially unconscious) pattern of unhealthy eating, we’ll fail to see that it is the concrete patterns of our diet, not our aspirational hopes of exercise that actually form our body.
Our spiritual lives are not so different. We may say in our vision, “I want to be a better husband who serves my wife,” but if we do not see that our small patterns (of not coming home on time, of leaving small chores undone) are the real ways we fail to serve our wife, then we miss the real formation that is happening.
In light of this idea of patterns of formation, read the “List Habits for Each Role” section of the Habit Planner and begin to think about what habits and rhythms you need in your life to move you towards the vision you articulated. On the chart you will use, these might be daily or weekly rhythms, or they might be annual traditions. Do not feel the need to fill up every box, just write a few key habits or patterns for each role. You do not need to finish them all, we will continue and finish this process tomorrow.