This morning I heard on the radio that the top three new year's resolutions of Canadians were 1) to lose weight, 2) to be a better person, 3) to stop smoking. I suppose all three are good things to aim for and all of them have obvious benefits in this life. But when you stop and think about these resolutions, all three are very horizontal in their orientation. None of them is concerned with the greater issue of living to the glory of God. This is not to suggest that God is not interested in our health and the way we conduct ourselves in this world. He is very interested in both things. But he is interested in more, much more.
God has made us in his image to have a relationship with him. We are his creatures and consequently we are only complete when we live for his honor and glory. This lies at the heart of biblical Christianity. We are not placed here on the earth to do our own thing but his will. Ours is not to make up our own religious approach to God but to come by faith through his Son whom he has sent into the world.
Last night when I was in Chapters with my wife before we headed off to the theater to watch a movie, I picked up a book by Marcus Borg entitled: Reading the Bible Again for the First Time: Taking the Bible Seriously but Not Literally. I did not buy the book, I merely flipped through it. But that was enough to see that Borg was not really taking the Bible seriously at all. He was merely using the Bible to support his own preconceived notions of reality. Picking and choosing what he wanted God to be like he felt free to accept or reject the biblical testimony as he saw fit. Borg's hubris is staggering. As if he, for all his learning, is in a position to make up the rules when it comes to God and salvation.
Marcus Borg is not alone. Many people in our world want this kind of religion. A self-made religion. A religion that they do their own way, without apologies or embarrassment. But God is not interested in this kind of rebellion even when it is cleverly veiled in academic lingo and a superficial show of piety. God wants us to bow to his authority. He wants us to receive his word as his word and to obey it fully. He wants us to seek him while he may be found and to call upon him while he is near. To forsake our wicked thoughts and to cast ourselves upon him for mercy. This is the beginning of wisdom and it is foundational to a life that is lived for his glory and not our own. Ironically it is also the way to the deepest kind of joy and fulfillment. May this new year see us draw ever closer to him.