We’re not even at Christmas yet, but I’m thinking New Year’s resolutions.
Well, that might have something to do with the fact that I celebrated Christmas a little early this year with family and friends at my book launch on December 8th. Now I get to enjoy Christmas again as I travel with my wife to Toronto and we visit extended family!
When it comes to resolutions, though, people have plenty to say. The media is always abuzz about the idea. I’m sure books have been written on the topic. Like Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Boxing Day, companies big and small love to play to the material aspect of setting goals for the new year. Gym memberships skyrocket as people try and shed those pounds they gained during the holidays. But as a sinner who knows that I’m a sinner, I’m under no pretense that all of my hang-up will suddenly disappear on January 1, 2018. This in between is where the saint lives—not arrived at heaven, still on the earthly journey. Martin Luther would be a good person to read up on if you want to immerse yourself in this study.
Now I’m not stating that I’m against setting goals. To the contrary: I try to set goals and vigorously work towards achieving them. What I am saying is that it is helpful for me personally to view New Year’s resolutions under a different filter or lens. For the Christian, accepting Jesus into one’s life does not mean instant, dramatic transformation. For some, yes, in a heartbeat their lives change in dramatic ways after they utter the sinner’s prayer. But I would say for the vast majority of us, it’s a constant, daily, moment-by-moment process (or struggle) where we learn to surrender our will to His, seeking His guidance in all matters, and experiencing joy, peace, love and hope along the way. We confess our sins to our Lord and to one another, renouncing sin and doing our best to walk in holiness, not by our strength but by His alone, knowing that it is Him who “is working in you to make you willing and able to obey him” (Phil. 2:13, CEV).