New Years Resolutions. We all make them. We decide the new year is a time to transform ourselves: to get off the couch and run more, to eat less take away and more home-cooked meals, to read our bibles and pray more. We make plans to transform our lives: to climb mountains and sunbake on exotic beaches, to find that dream job that utilises our true potential, to peel our eyes away from screens and actually experience life. We dream of doing our bit to change the world: to grow vegetables and invest in a worm farm, to donate more to charities and less to multi-million dollar corporations, to campaign for justice and raise awareness for the less-fortunate.
Yet, seldom do we ever see these plans to fruition. The question is always asked: how long do you think you will hold fast to your Resolutions? The answer, I’ve found, is reflected in the person’s rolled eyes and awkward laughter. It seems that we desire change, yet don’t believe it possible. We aspire to greatness yet don’t consider it achievable. No matter whether our intensions are genuine, we ultimately fall back into old habits. If this is the case, then why do we bother making resolutions at all? I think it is because we want to believe that change IS possible, that greatness IS achievable, that old habits and addictions CAN be broken. On our own, however, we cannot achieve these things.
The answer is found in a man who walked this earth 2000 years ago, whose birth humanity celebrates every year at Christmas, but is overshadowed by mass consumerism and a hairy guy in a red onesie. A man who willingly gave His life on a Roman cross in order to bring us to salvation and reconcile us into relationship with God. A man called Jesus. It is only in and through Him that true, lasting change can occur, that we who were dead in our sin are brought to life. The problem with New Years Resolutions is that we seek to evoke change ourselves, rather than seeking inward and outward renewal through the Spirit. We plan and dream and strategize, yet forget to pray! We fail to acknowledge His sovereignty over our lives. We are motivated by our own desires and purposes rather than by the glory of our God who is sovereign over all.
My one resolution for this year is to wake up every day and intentionally acknowledge God’s sovereignty over my life; to open my eyes and surrender every day to God, to be used as a vessel for His glory. I need to be willing to set aside my own selfish desires so that His far greater purposes can be fulfilled in and through me. In doing so, I have to acknowledge that in my own strength I can do nothing, but by the work of the Spirit in my heart, mind and soul, true transformation will occur. I will make plans, set goals, dream and strategise; but, in the words of Psalms:
Many are the plans in the mind of man, but it is the purpose
of the LORD that will stand. ~Proverbs 19:21