CHURCH CORNER: Change not a result of wishful thinking

By Marcus Kelly

New Life Foursquare

Any idea yet on how the new year is going to treat you? Better? Worse? Or is it too soon to tell? Ever wonder why we think that the change of a number on a calendar is going to make everything different? Like the cosmos will know that it’s a new year and decide to be nice to you now. Somehow, through happy thoughts and wishful thinking, life will get better.

Unfortunately as I look back on my life, I’ve come to realize this type of hocus pocus thinking rarely makes a difference. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for positive confession – but I don’t rely on that alone. So what can make 2010 better?

Recently I was listening to a podcast of a respected minister. He was talking about wisdom vs. wishful thinking. I have to admit I’ve had to re-evaluate some of my own mindsets. Honestly, I was rather disappointed in what I found.

Here is what he pointed out. Wishful thinking doesn’t bring a change to negative behavior or choices in one’s life. Wisdom, on the other hand, does.

Wishful thinking tends to lead us into a fantasy land – where we continue to live life the way we have been, but everything magically gets better. We lose weight without changing our diet or increasing our exercise. We become a great parent while never being involved in our childrens’ lives. We find a good, loving and caring person to marry and raise a family with by merely seeking opportunities for one-night stands. As wonderful as these things sound, they’re just not reality.

In life we need wisdom. Each one of us strays from wisdom from time to time. In Proverbs 12:1 it says, “Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.” The problem isn’t necessarily straying from wisdom. No, the issue is what do we do once we know we’ve strayed. Will we continue in wishful thinking or will we allow wisdom to teach and correct us?

Wisdom understands when we’ve fallen short of our goals. Take weight for instance. Maybe we’ve put on a few – or more than a few – extra pounds. Wisdom tells us that we should set a goal and make some changes in our diet and/or exercise plan. Wisdom tells a father who wants to be a great dad not to work the overtime but get home for dinner and have storytime with his kids. Wisdom encourages those with destructive behaviors, like sleeping around or excessive partying, to change their behavior before it leads to lifelong health and wholeness issues.

Wishful thinking says it sure would be nice if the car turned at the corner, while wisdom…turns the wheel. I’ve learned over time to always appreciate when someone brings this kind of thinking bluntly to my face. Often, it can irritate my ego but I’ve found a bruised ego is better than being an idiot.

Don’t let your pride stop you from making the necessary changes this year. 2010 doesn’t care if you have a great year or a terrible year. God does! He has given us the ability to make good decisions and bring correction to our paths. Wishful thinking won’t bring you out of debt but wise stewardship can.

Let’s leave wishful thinking to children and birthday cakes. My hope and prayer for every one of us is that we spend 2010 bringing correction into our lives through the wisdom God brings to us. I know that it will make big changes for your life.