Another year has passed and another year is upon us. It must be time to examine ourselves, evaluate, and look ahead to what we should be about these next 365 days, right?
Typically, these New Year’s resolutions have to do with money, relationships, and health. We promise to address our debt and savings, to be better spouses/friends/families/employees, to lose weight/gain muscle/build stamina, and just be generally more healthy in all areas.
It all sounds so good, so motivating, and so simple. Well, until we get started or at least TRY to get started.
If you are like me, procrastination and excuses are the great enemies of these wonderful and lofty goals. But, why is that?
Why is it so difficult to be faithfully successful to what we see as important in our lives?
When I look closely at myself and am honest about my failings, I usually see two foundational flaws.
The first issue relates to motivation. Why do I want to “change”? What is it within me that inspires my goals and desires? If I am honest (and let’s be honest, I honestly don’t always know if I am being honest or just honestly fooling myself) I have to admit that often times, way too often actually, my New Year’s Resolutions are nothing more than “I want”, “I think”, and “I feel” type of decisions. While my goals for growth and change are usually “good” they are based too often on me, what I think, what I deem right.
Bad place to start.
I have been called to follow Jesus. To grow into HIS image. It matters not how “good” my intentions are, my life is to be about laying it down as a living sacrifice before my Lord and Savior. If my resolutions aren’t an act of worship and submission to Him, they are simply vanities disguised as “good” intentions. First and foremost, my goals need to reflect growth in what His Word calls me to be and do whether that is being a better husband, parent, getting in better physical condition, or addressing money and finances.
The second issue relates to my ability. Well, more accurately, what I believe about my ability. In case you haven’t recognized this already, I need help. Yep, pretty much unable to do anything on my own without some sort of assistance. I need a support, encouragement, counsel, accountability, and the strength to keep moving forward. I need the resolve to get up and get back in the game when I let down or give in. I need to be teachable. The Psalmist asks the question that MUST be answered if my year is going to show growth over last year. In Psalm 121 he asks, “From where shall my help come?”
The answer is simple. My help comes from the Lord. Genuine growth in Christlikeness, growth in what pleases Him, growth that truly is transformational with eternal benefit and reward must come from somewhere outside of my own sinful, fleshly self. I must trust His word, rely on His strength, and have faith that He will bear fruit in my effort and diligence in submitting my will to His. If I am to persevere when life calls to me to give in, to give up, and try something new, it must begin with His Spirit inside of me and my dependance on Him.
Lord Jesus, as I come to 2015 I pray you identify within me what you want from me, that I will live as an act of worship before you, trusting that your your Spirit will keep me going no matter how uncomfortable and difficult it may seem at any given time, and that your Word will instruct me in the way.