WHAT WORD OR PHRASE COMES TO MIND WHEN YOU HEAR THE WORDS “NEW YEARS RESOLUTION? Does your heart rate increase? Do you feel like a failure already? I won’t share my resolutions or failures, but I am sure we have many in common. In reality there is no difference whatsoever between 11:59 pm on Dec. 31 and Midnight Jan 1st. No reset button. Our bad behavior and attitudes don’t magically get erased. If it were that simple! But maybe it is.
Nowhere in the Bible will you find verses about the new year, but there are many on new beginnings. 1 Peter 1:3 , Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. See also; Isaiah 40:31, Phil.3:13-14, Isaiah 43:18-19, Lam. 3:22-24, 2 Cor. 5:17. As Christians, the simple answer is that CHRIST already DID the reset for us on the cross. We have been declared righteous by the Father , once and for all because of the righteousness of Jesus! Our motive for change should be to enjoy the freedom from sin that God gives us through Jesus. Paul said, ”Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” 1 Cor. 11:1. While no human is perfect, observing and befriending godly people can offer help through modeling Christian principles in practical ways.
Most importantly, a repentant heart change leads to lasting change because sinful behavior flows from sinful hearts. Only the Spirit gives us a new attitude toward sin and a new power to change. The triune God cares deeply about our struggles. The Father sees them, the Son experienced them and the Spirit is with us in them. I Love That! ! Identifying, when we struggle, may give us a clue as to why we struggle. We sin because we believe lies about God instead of believing his Word, and we sin because we worship idols instead of worshiping Him. Some truths we need to insert in our disbelief are:
~God is great, so we don’t have to be in control.
~God is glorious, so we don’t have to fear others.
~God is good, so we don’t have to look elsewhere.
~God is gracious, so we don’t have to prove ourselves.
Only God truly satisfies. The sin of pride hinders us from change. To hide our flaws, we make excuses, blame, minimize or hide them . Christ put on true humility, and that is what brings us back to the cross. When we humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand, surrendering our own will and honor, then He will give us the grace that we need to live a Christian life in truth, as well as exalt us in His time.
My pastor from Chicago stated, “I am so glad that Jesus does not say, “Practice more spiritual disciplines.” He says, “Come to me…and I will give you rest.” We can support one another in change. Redeemer is a great, safe place to practice this! Again, this takes humility. God has given us this Christian community to help us change. We reinforce faith by reminding one another of the truth. ‘Communities of Grace’ in which we can be open with one another. God has given us new desires, we are a work in progress, being sanctified daily. Our Christian life is a tough life, the struggle is daily. Faith and repentance, disciplines practiced over a lifetime. Christ is worth it!