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By Sam Gibb | 4 January 2013 | Comments (1)

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I’ll be honest, most of my New Year’s resolutions last about as long as the career of a Chelsea manager under the Russian mafia, six weeks in and if I’m still going it’s a record! So the temptation for me has always been to not bother at all, or to make meaningless achievable resolutions. I’ve given up smoking having never taken it up, vowed to swear less when the closest I ever really get is an angrily pronounced ‘Deary me! or ‘Oopsy daisy’. Likewise students resolve to get dressed before midday, writers resolve to er, write something. We want to gain weight, lose weight, get fit, keep fit, fit in. Eat less, eat more (nothing to lose, everything to gain!). And in the time of the 4 ‘R’s’- reduce, reuse, recycle and recession - we try resolutions to save money: do less laundry, wear more deodorant. Or for those of us who are ink-competent but technically challenged we resolve to think of a more original password than, er… ‘password’.


The problem is so often our resolutions, like our lives, are ‘me’ focused and legalistic. But both our resolutions and our lives need to be an active response to the awesome God who gives us the very air in our (after last years resolution - slightly less knackered) lungs. ‘Deary me’, should come our response, God has put great people in my life, so I am going love them. God has given me this cracking body so I am going to look after it. God has given me his word so I am going to read it!


Paul, writing to his mate and mentee Timothy says this ‘train yourself to be Godly, for physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come’ (1 Timothy 4:8). And God himself, speaking to Joshua, a hard-nut warrior (think Russell Crowe in Gladiator, or Bear Grylls with sandals and a spear), gives him one clear command: practice sword fighting? No. 50 press-ups a day? No. Eat weetabix? No. God says, ‘keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it’ (Joshua 1:8).


So my first challenge (that sounds much better than a resolution) is this: Read the Bible. Daily. The same challenge that God gave Josh and that Paul gave Tim. Allow God’s word to transform your life, give it a chance. It always amazes me how many people can form (and loudly express) opinions about God without ever opening his word; His writing about Him, to us! This is all the more scary when I see it within Christian circles. Maybe try a daily reading plan, or just work through a book at your own pace. Thanks to many people who have worked so hard over many years it is an absolute doddle for us to read His word, you have it on your phone, on your laptop or off your mates tattoo – just as long as you can read Hebrew! And if you find the English language a challenge the Bible is available in over 450 others, even in Klingon and more amazingly broad Yorkshire (kind of)!


But a second, and perhaps a more challenging, resolution is this: read the Bible with someone else. ‘What? With someone else? I can’t do that!’ I hear you cry. Just take it slow: how about meeting once every couple of weeks to study a passage together? Simply open the Bible, read it and then chat. Buy them a Bible; it won’t set you back much more than £5 (that’s a Big Mac meal or a small pack of cigarettes). I promise you; it will be the most generous thing that you can ever do. One of the main pushes at All Souls this year will be to get everyone in the Church reading the Bible one-to-one, and I am so excited about this. Why? Because God’s word, through the power of the Holy Spirit, transforms people – don’t believe me? Test it! I can’t begin to describe what a privilege it is to see someone getting to grips with God's word for themselves. If that is not a challenge worth taking up this New Year, I honestly don’t know what is.

Gospels in Broad Yorkshire:

*image by nanagyei

Posted by Sam Gibb

Sam Gibb is a twenty-something whose passion is to present the message and teachings of Jesus to lads in a way that makes sense to them. He writes a regular column in Sorted Men’s Magazine and works for All Souls, Langham Place in London. Sam is also a Stewardship recipient!



February 22, 2013 10:44 AM
Great challenge Sam, one which i am going to fully try and complete. The book of Daniel comes flashing to mind.

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