Today is my birthday. I’ve always considered it my own personal New Year. Billions of people celebrate new beginnings on January 1st, but on June 20th that number drops to mere millions. (Two worth noting: fellow blogger Caleb Johnson and my dad.) So, in honor of another year, here are some of my birthday resolutions:
1. Stay amazed
The world has enough beauty to blow my mind every day, if only I’d consider how fascinating everything is: skin, silkworms, spiral galaxies. But this resolution isn’t just about rediscovering the joys of creation; it’s remembering that every marvel points to its Maker. Staying amazed reorients our worship. I just need to pause, to notice, to wonder. And re-reading N.D. Wilson’s Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl wouldn’t hurt, either.
2. Consider our immortality
In The Weight of Glory, C.S. Lewis reminds us that we’ve never met a “mere mortal.” Everyone, in some way, will live forever. When I’m waiting at Starbucks, the immortality of the barista is probably the last thing on my mind. But what better way to turn an ordinary day into something extraordinary than to consider the future of my fellow man. Perhaps it’s something to chat about over iced caramel macchiato?
3. Feel free
It’s one thing to know I’m free, to engage the topic of freedom intellectually and academically. But it’s quite another thing to feel free. Maybe I’m way off, but it seems to me that freedom is, among other things, an emotion. How can we sing about broken chains, dungeons flamed with light, and hearts set free if we don’t feel a thing? I like that little phrase, “Feel free.” (I also think it’d make a sick tattoo.)
4. Kill, kill, kill!
Sometimes it’s OK to kill. Take it from John Owen: “Be killing sin or it will be killing you.” Today I’m halfway through J.C. Ryle’s Holiness, a book that has inspired a whole new killing spree. Christ has set us free from the power and penalty of sin, but not from its presence—not yet. So the civil war inside of us continues, spirit against flesh. We know who wins, but the battle rages on. This year I’ve got some serious sin to slay. This means war!
5. Remember iustus
One of the coolest catchphrases in all of church history is Martin Luther’s simul iustus et peccator: at once a just person and a sinner. Last year I focused far too much on the second half of that phrase; this year I’m determined to focus on the first. The gospel is in the first. Because of what Christ accomplished on the cross, I’m justified. Right now! It’s easy to remember I’m a sinner, but much harder to remember I’m forgiven and loved. Remembering iustus will help. Remembering God’s Word is even better.