With just a few days into the new year, I’m sure hundreds of people have already broken resolutions they have made as a way of being “better” or whatever. I’m glad I didn’t make a resolution to be a “better” person, cause the truth is I think these last 3 days have only revealed to me how often I have a tendency to find comfort in things that are fleeting.
I spent the entire New Year's Day being grumpy and used my grumpiness to excuse how I responded to other people, particularly my husband. But he so graciously pointed out to me about 10 times my attitude, my excuses and called me repent.
Honestly, I think this day was a realization of all of the “resolutions” I wanted to make but knew that left to myself I couldn’t accomplish said “resolutions”. Instead I became bitter and angry. I see people on social media making resolutions to lose weight, be nicer, do this or that or whatever (and in my tendency to think the worst about people--I say, “Ha. Good luck.”) But I look at my own life and the goals or dreams that I desire and panic over how I could never attain these things in the amount of time I want (like 2 days because I’m so impatient).
So I ask myself, that in the midst of a new year and new resolutions, how does the Gospel of Jesus apply to this? I remember and rest in the truth that in the Gospel of Jesus, God lavishes us with his love, he liberates us by his grace, and he doesn’t stop transforming us and redeeming us. How could I want any thing else other than this? Because the Gospel is true I don’t have to respond to the demand I place on myself for New Year’s resolutions--promises of what I am going to do for you or for myself. I can abandon myself to everything that Jesus has done for me and for you. He is the promise keeper and has promised to make me new (1).
How freeing is that? I don’t have to look to myself to accomplish these things that I think would bring me “life” No, I can look to Jesus and trust that he is redeeming me even amongst the ways I desire to lose weight, read more, whatever. I am free to do these things I desire, yet not beat myself up when I don’t accomplish them.
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”(Romans 8:1-2) I love preaching these verses to myself because it reminds me of my standing with the Lord. We all have the temptation to beat ourselves up over our sin, frustrations consistently resorting to doing the same thing over and over. It reminds me of how God sees me when he looks at me. He sees Jesus.
Friends, I would say if you were honest you know that left to yourself you can’t “accomplish” all that you wish this new year as well. I don't say this to be a debbie downer. But think about it. It won't be long down the road: maybe tonight, tomorrow, next week, a month or two from now that you will find yourself doing or not doing that "resolution" you promised yourself you would do or not do. But there is hope for you and for me. What if you believed for the first time that Jesus is enough for you? What if you looked to Him to be for you all of those things you put on yourself to accomplish? I know that real hope for change and transformation with an eternal perspective comes from knowing Jesus.
If I am going to long for one thing this year, I pray it is to linger longer in the presence of Jesus. He brings life. He sustains. In Him, we have everything we need. So I don’t need to lose this specific amount of weight, or read more or work harder or craft more or be a better wife. No, I need Jesus.
(1). paraphrase taken from Scotty Smith’s Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel-Centered Faith