We should be willing to take a step toward obedience, trust

It’s February. The graveyard of most new year’s resolutions.

It seems harsh, but unfortunately, it’s just numbers. I did a little research and, according to a statistics website, 25 percent of people drop their new year’s resolutions by the end of the first week of January. The number goes up to 36 percent after the first month, and only 34 percent of people will remain committed to their goals past June.

I am not proud to confess, but I have been on the team of those who don’t seem to be able to keep their new year’s resolutions one time too many. It’s disappointing, discouraging and plain sad.

I could say that I found the solution by not making any new year’s resolutions for the past couple of years, but that doesn’t solve the issue. It’d be great if the solution was that simple. Truthfully speaking, we think about committing to change things with a new year because we are not happy with certain aspects of our lives. Whether it is our weight, our lack of accomplishments or messy homes, human beings are driven to change because they’re not fully happy wherever they are. But for some reason, we have a really hard time holding on to the vision of what life would look like if we pressed on to our goals.

We allow ourselves to be distracted by temporary pleasures or shortcuts. We choose to remain in comfortable, familiar surroundings. And therefore, unfortunately, more often than not, that means that we cheat ourselves from receiving God’s best.

I was studying the book of Numbers when I came across the passage where the Jewish nation is at the border of the Promise Land. After wandering for almost 40 years in the wilderness, Moses received God’s command to send spies into Canaan to survey the land that was promised to Abraham’s descendants. He then selected 12 men to study the land for 40 days and come back with a report of their findings. When the men returned, they all agreed that the land was indeed good, with plenty of provision and fertile soil. However, the people who lived in the land were too strong. And too many. Giants, they said.

Out of the 12 spies, only Caleb and Joshua came back excited and determined to take over the long-awaited Promise Land. All 12 men surveyed the same land and came across the very same obstacles. Ten of them gave in to fear. Two saw past the giants, and into the unlimited resources of a God who opened the Red Sea, guided and provided for them in the desert.

After hearing the arguments from both sides, the people chose to do nothing. They chose the familiar surroundings, all the while complaining about their circumstances; however not willing to take a step toward obedience and trust. As a result, an entire generation of faithless men and women died in the wilderness and never received the promise. Only Caleb and Joshua were able to step into the land flowing with milk and honey.

I think about the many times that we act as the unbelieving Jews in the wilderness, too lazy to fight on, too scared to step into the impossible with the assurance that God goes before us into each place he calls us to go. Whether it’s something as carnal and superficial as losing weight, or something more spiritual as saying yes to a calling, we give up because we forget that the journey to our promise land is only one step in the right direction at a time. And that God’s promise is that he will be there to strengthen and enable us until we get to the other side.