And so we are into 2012, resolutions have already been made….
and broken ….
It’s not that resolutions are necessarily wrong, some well known men and women of God down through history have made them, i.e. Jonathan Edwards of the USA.
A lot of people make resolutions only for them to last a few weeks, the reason being those resolutions are self-focused, they are about what I am going to do, and how I’m going to do it. It’s about my will, my resolve, and my strength to perform – in many ways it’s a works gospel: try harder, you might get there this time. Believe me I know I’ve been there.
Paul reached the point of complete desperation regarding his ability to perform, to get it right, to reach the standard. To paraprase him, “The good I have resolved and want to do, I can’t do it. In fact it’s worse than that, I find myself doing the very opposite – the things I hate.” It led him to the utter depths of human poverty and despair – to cry out: “who will deliver me from this body of death – this life that continually pulls me down into death?” Romans 7:24.
Maybe that’s where you are.
So what’s the answer?
Notice he does not say “how can I do this,” “have you got a better program I can try,” he says, “who will deliver me?”
Did you notice that, “Who?” He’s given up on himself, he doesn’t need another self-help program, he needs someone beyond himself to do it, and the answer he gives is Jesus.
Whether you believe Paul was a Christian or not at this point, the answer is the same.
One of the things we need to remember – a very important thing – is that the gospel is not just for those who don’t know Christ, it’s also for those who do.
We need to continually be reminded of the gospel because the devil loves to get us away from Christ and into self, and that kind of Christianity is miserable indeed.
The gospel is Jesus plus nothing – absolutely, not my will, nor my effort. It’s about his faithfulness, how he has performed, and our being in him, and his life in us.
The writer to the Hebrews says there is a rest for the people of God, and the person who has entered that rest, has rested, or stopped from his own works (Hebrews 4:9,10).
That rest is Jesus – only, always.
So as we go into the New Year where are you looking – in and feeling down, or away from yourself to Jesus the “author and finisher of our faith.” Believe me there is a world of a difference!