Down-home Parables

A Blog by Richard Wayne Fry

Self Improvement

Today is the start of a New Year; a time to embrace change and betterment. It is the big day for many people to brace themselves and dive headlong into one or more of those infamous New Year’s Resolutions. However...

...before we attempt those changes, we must first take an honest look at the man or woman in the mirror. There is no benefit in trying to kid ourselves and attempt something we are already prepared to fail at. There is only a shadowy, hollow satisfaction in the claim, “I tried.” In the immortal words of Yoda, “Do, or do not, there is no try.” The little green guy has it right; there is no such thing as trying. We either succeed at what we do, or we fail.

Most New Year’s Resolutions are simply failures waiting to happen. The reason for this is impending failure is simple...apart from the “resolution” itself, nothing has changed. If you have not read the 4 part series on
Renewing The Mind, I highly recommend you do so.

The Correct Outlook

Everything we do, every task we undertake, every sacrifice made, and every good deed performed presupposes a dedicated relationship with God. Without that relationship, even the very best of intentions is destined to fail on some level.

No Other Gods
And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. —Exodus 20:1-3

If you have something between you and God, whether a spouse, children, job, hobby, etc., that something is closer to God than you are, and you are closer to it than you are to God. You need to restructure your life and get closer to God, let nothing be closer to him than you are in your own life.

Good Success
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. —Joshua 1:8

If you do not know what God expects of you, how are you planning to accomplish it? We are expected to mediate in God’s Word “day and night.” This meditation is not merely for the sake of meditation, but so we may “DO” what we have been reading and meditating. This reading and meditating is setting us up to SUCCEED and not to FAIL.

You will notice in the last part of Joshua 1:8 these words, “...then THOU shall make thy way prosperous, and Thou shall have GOOD SUCCESS.”

Not one word of trying or attempting. It is all about doing and succeeding at what we do. The key to success has been given to us, we just need to prep for it by reading and meditating God’s word BEFORE we DO something.

No Faith
For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. —Hebrews 4:2

You have the same Bible I have; they both have the same words, the same commands, the same principles, the same anointing. So any dividing line cannot be in the words that we are reading, because they are the same words. What we find here in Hebrews is that the difference in hearers comes down to our own admixture of faith to what has been read or heard.

So how about that New Year’s you have any faith for it? Are you already planning to fail after giving it a good “try”? Have you found God’s promise for a successful outcome in the resolution you have planned and spent time meditating on it?

Planning a change in your life without the faith to support and strengthen it is like a man with no legs planning to run the Boston Marathon. It is a great plan, a noble plan, a worthwhile and self improving plan, it is also a plan that has failed even as it was being made.

Get closer to God, read and meditate in his Word, and utilize the faith God has given you (this is the part where you go look up Romans 12:3).

O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? —Galatians 3:1-5

I know what you are going to say, “I am not a Galatian.” Well, right you are, and no doubt about it. However, we should not throw out any of the creamy goodness found here just because we are not Galatians. As it turns out, Paul makes a determined point concerning these Galatians, which I will bring to surface for your dining and reading pleasure. The germane portion of the scripture would be:

“... having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?”

That Bible chatter can get a little hefty at times, so let me restate for you:

“...fools, are you going to try and do this without God being involved?”

There, that was much clearer. And it brings up a very good point; are YOU planning to “try” your New Year’s Resolution without the aid of the Holy Spirit? Is that your plan? I think that with a minimum of effort you can do better and be assured of success (see above under Good Success).

What you need is to get closer to God, read and meditate in his Word, utilize the faith God has given you, and expect the Holy Spirit to work WITH you in your little venture. This way, when you are 100% successful, you will be more inclined to give God the credit for it rather than taking it all for yourself.

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. —1 Corinthians 13:1-3

As a brief aside, let me clear up a misconception that has too long permeated Christianity. 1 Corinthians chapter 13 is NOT the “Love Chapter.” From a purely contextual standpoint, 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14 are really one chapter. The context is the same in all three chapters; i.e., “spiritualities” or “charismata.” There, I feel much better.

Charity here is “love.” The undeniable message is that all we do should be motivated by love; love of God, love of self, and love of our fellow man. Without that love motivation, all we do amounts to nothing. So no amount of success we achieve will have any value if we are lacking in love.

So, back to that New Year’s Resolution...what is the motivation behind it? Is the motive first to please God? Were you motivated by God’s Word to do this thing? Have you meditated and prayed and added your faith to the project? Is the Holy Spirit a part of your plans for success? Is love the driving force behind your decision to act?

I realize at this point I am just meddling, but these are things I thought might be of value to you if you have serious plans to really succeed at your resolution(s). Get closer to God, read and meditate his word, operate in the faith God has given you, expect the Holy Spirit to assist you in your doings, and be loving toward those around you. Perhaps you can share some of what you have been reading and meditating on with them as well.

Happy New Year!
Richard-Wayne: Fry

Hebrews 2:10

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