New Year’s Resolution
Are you resolved to do something differently in your life in the new year? Some habit you’re tired of? Perhaps. Yet, we all know that most resolutions crumble within a few weeks! So what is the real answer? Why not have a life-changing experience?!
Failure to Victory!
Ever try something you’ve never done before? Often, one says, “Wow, this is way harder than it looked!” Then, some experienced person steps in and shows you the right way to do it, and you realize it’s not so bad after all! Well, that is much the same way it is with stopping or starting that certain something in our lives too! Yet, in a little different way!
Let’s bring this home to where it really counts. Maybe there’s some sinful habit in your life. An addiction you’re weary of, yet, can’t seem to shake! Whatever it is, you would just like it to go away! However, it just seems to want to pull you back in! You’ve wrestled, you’ve tried, and you’re tired of fighting! You are exhausted! I say, there is hope for you!
Let me put out a challenge to you. Not in a condescending kind of way, but from someone who wears “battle scars”! Paul the apostle writes thus, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless indeed you fail to meet the test! I hope you will find that we have not failed the test.” (2 Corinthians 13:5-6)
“So, why do I bring this up when we’re on the topic of New Year’s resolutions,” you ask? Well, before we continue on, we must pause, and make certain that things are right in this regard first. For, if we think we’re saved, and aren’t, we will have big problems with habits in our life that we don’t want! I myself was in such a situation for years! I was trying to live the Christian life without actually being a Christian. Those were miserable years! Praise God, I’m free from that drudgery! Now, I want to make certain that you aren’t embroiled in the same depressing battle!
Yeah, some of us have attended Sunday School, memorized Bible verses, tithed, gone on mission trips, and tried real hard to be “good people”! We may have gone forward in an altar call, said the sinner’s prayer, invited Jesus into our hearts, been baptized, gone to church, confessed all kinds of sins, and yet, never been saved! Yes, it all comes down to the gospel! For, way too many of us are like Cain, trying to come to God by our methods. We must come to God – His way! What is that way? Jesus Christ and Him crucified! No question, it can be super hard for some to come to the place where one admits, “No, I will never be good enough. I need Jesus to save me, or I have no chance! For if there had been some way for us to be “good enough,” Jesus would not have been sent to rescue us! He would not have been called, the Savior! Yes, Jesus came to pay for the sin-debt of your whole lifetime on that cruel cross! There He experienced the complete wrath of God for all of your sin! Do you believe that? If, and when you do, Christ’s righteousness is counted to you, and you are numbered among the saved! As we read, “And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness.” Romans 4:5) Fact is, as an unsaved person, we are slaves of sin! We can’t shake off the fetters and just walk away! We need a redeemer, and Jesus is our Redeemer! He purchases us out of the slave market of sin by His precious blood and makes us His own! Certainly, with an understanding of the gospel, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”! (Romans 10:13)
But I’m a Christian!
It is true, that it may seem logical, now that we’re Christians, to think that we have the ability to just walk away from all sin! However, that is not the reality. So often we still want to place ourselves “under rules,” instead of being “under grace”! This is a serious, but common, error! Very plainly, God says, “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under the law but under grace.” (Romans 6:14) “But,” you say, “Doesn’t that mean…I can sin…because there are no rules?” The shocking truth is, “The law came in to increase the trespass”! (Romans 5:20) To the contrary, freedom from sin is found in Jesus Christ! We read, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.” (Galatians 2:20-21)
Remember Joshua as he was about to go into battle in the land of Canaan? Listen to this dramatic encounter!
“When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold,
A man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand.
And Joshua went to him and said to him,
Are you for our us, or for our adversaries?
And he said, No; but I am the commander of the army of the LORD.
Now I have come.
And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped
And said to him,
What does my lord say to his servant?
And the commander of the LORD’s army said to Joshua.
Take off your sandals from your feet,
For the place you are standing is holy.
And Joshua did so.”
Indeed, here was a general called by God to lead the people into the Promised Land! So, Joshua assumed that it would be up to him to go in and do the job! However, he was absolutely mistaken! This is most vital! For it was not Joshua, but God, who was to take over command of this operation! Thus we read after the war was won, “It was not by your sword or by your bow. I gave you a land.” Again, “I destroyed them before you.” (Joshua 24:12-13, 8)
You say, what does this have to do with New Year’s resolutions?! Well, a lot! For, neither are the victories won in our lives by our “sword or by” our “bow”! No, it is the Lord who delivers us from sin’s clutches and brings us victory! Yes, Jesus Christ Himself is our victory! We need to let Him take control of our lives and let Him fight the battles for us, just as Joshua bowed down and let the “Commander of the LORD’s army” take over!
Let us then in faith look to Jesus Christ! Let us let Him take over our lives! Only Jesus is the victory! He came to live His life in and through us! Let us then wholly surrender to God! Let us be reminded, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God…” (Galatians 2:20) Therefore, in light of the marvellous mercies of the Lord, let us consider these words, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers [and sisters], by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living [once-for-all] sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Romans 12:1)
Victor J Reimer
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Photo credit: “New Year’s Resolutions” by One Way Stock
*Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (ESV), copyrighted © 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved.