Once again it’s that crucial day when everyone decides whether to make or break their resolutions: January 2.
According to researcher John Norcross in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, approximately 50 percent of the population makes resolutions each New Year and by February, they have given up. (From Psychology Today)
Can you relate? I sure can. Each year I try to promise to do more, thinking that somehow that will make up for what I didn’t do last year. When it comes to giving up as soon as it gets hard, I’ll admit to being the first offender.
So I find myself wondering at this time of year – What does it actually take to accomplish your goals? I mean, really.
Well obviously, it involves changing our behavior. We can’t do the same thing over and over expecting different results. That’s the definition of “insane”.
But how exactly do we change? I’m searching for a better answer than “work hard”, “keep focused” & “stay inspired”. These nice sentiments don’t have the staying power to drive me when I’m stubborn, tired, or lazy. Cliche sayings will not move me to action. Reminders on my phone will get ignored. (An electric shock might do it, but then I’d just be in a bad mood.)
Here’s the truth: I can’t be interrupted.
“I can’t just stop my train of thought/netflix marathon/enjoyment of (insert guilty pleasure here)…Later” Later, we say. And isn’t that just what happens in every broken plan? Ignored advice? Sin?
Sin has the same beginnings as a broken resolution. The attitude that says, “No, I’m deciding for myself what’s best for me right now” is the same voice in us that decides against God’s plan to bring goodness to our lives. As a result, we find ourselves in a natural rut. Continually making deeper inroads going the wrong direction.
Trying to keep new years resolutions is like Salvation.
It’s not possible without Jesus.
Imagine you’re slipping down a rope hanging off a precipice. Someone holds out a hand from the top to pull you up. You can: (a) Accept the help (b) Swat away his hand and try to climb up yourself (c) Do nothing or give up and let go.
The Bible says that the price for sin is death. That means that if you die having sinned, you will only receive the just reward for what you have done.
In the old testament, the Jews had to sacrifice innocent animals for Israel’s sins. They had to do this every year because this type of sacrifice was not permanent. The animals were innocent, but still part of creation and not able to take away sins. It was only because of God’s mercy that he allowed humans to offer him something for their sins.
However, when Jesus came down, he was “begotten, not made”, Fully God and fully man, not a part of creation, but with the power to bring to life the dead and take away sins.
When He died, He was wholly innocent, a perfect sacrifice which does not need to be repeated every year. That one death was good to pay for every single person who ever was, if they chose to receive it.
That’s why we say that Jesus is the only way to Heaven. Because no amount of effort will ever do what his work on the cross has done. No amount of new years resolution-effort will ever yield perfect results.
The only way to succeed in making good changes in our lives is to first realize that we cannot do it by ourselves. We are powerless without Jesus. Our efforts alone are nothing but dirty rags. But what if our efforts are coupled with trust in His good plan for our lives? The possibilities are insurmountable.
So starting this year and moving forward, my resolution is to do everything I do for the glory of God because there’s no end to what is possible with Him.
How will you glorify God this year?