Do you make resolutions at the start of the year? I joke with my family that I made one New Year’s resolution several years back, and it was to no longer make New Year’s resolutions. So far, I’m doing pretty well at keeping it.
Truth be told, I think I grew weary of making resolutions during the years I struggled with sexual addiction. Over and over, year after year, I committed to God and myself that I’d stop sinning sexually. And I prayed I’d be able to keep my commitment.
But I couldn’t.
Or at least, I didn’t.
I actually don’t think at that time that I could tell the difference between my couldn’t and my wouldn’t in that area of my life. My theology told me I could do all things through Christ who strengthens me, but that seemed a strange language I couldn’t translate into anything useful in the face of temptation.
Still, my resolve (flakey as it was) was a window revealing that I had a will (flakey as it was) to stop sinning. This is important because God cares deeply about our wills and rarely seems to act in our lives in direct opposition to them. (Jesus announced that he came to restore sight to the blind, but not once in the Scriptures do we find him running up to unsuspecting blind men and forcing sight upon them.)
So your resolve is important but nowhere near enough, and your will is important, but nowhere near enough.
Happy New Year! Right?
For all the huff and puff that goes into preparing for Christmas, it’s stunning how quickly we can forget once it’s over. We come to New Year’s Eve with our jaws set and a list of promises in our pocket.
If you’ve faltered at the altar of yearly resolutions like I have, take hope. The good news of a great joy for all the people was not that you could come up with a resolution and keep it. It was that a Savior was born in Bethlehem for you.
Consider that list in your pocket—especially those vices you’ve repeatedly promised to quit, but to little or no avail. Do you need saving there? Or what about that thing in your life that you don’t even bother putting on your list because you know it won’t make a difference? Could you use a Savior there?
Don’t plant your resolutions in the cold soil of the New Year. Plant them deep in the good soil of the Nativity, and watch what grows.
This means opening yourself to receive Jesus’ salvific presence both in those highly motivated, resolution-making times as well as in those fallen down and wallowing-in-vice moments. It means saying yes to Him when you are tempted, when you do well, and when you fall, when you walk closely with Him and when you wander far from Home.
How else will you change course? How else will you be saved?
I’m not knocking your 2020 resolutions, nor mine. At minimum, they reveal a will that wants to grow, to do better, to stop, to start—to say yes to God and no to lesser gods. God sees, and your yes matters to Him.
Now open your yes to receive His greater Yes for you, and keep opening it to Him throughout the year, no matter what.
Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.(Luke 2:10,11)
Our team at Regeneration is here to help.