We all have a tendency of not sticking with our new years resolutions like we first imagine we will. In fact, only around 8% of people follow through on their new years resolutions.
I’m not going to tell you that making new years resolutions is a bad idea. In fact, the premise behind making new years resolutions is good; it’s important to identify areas in our lives in which we want to grow, and then endeavor to do so. With that said, what we need most in 2017 is not a reset of our diets or spending habits, but to feel more deeply loved by God at the end of this year than we do now. We need to be careful, church, that we don’t begin tying up our confidence in Christ with the success of our resolutions. I caution you because this is my own struggle every day.
I struggle with condemning my own heart that God has called clean in his sight. I so often guilt myself, and not necessarily even for sin issues. I feel I’m too weird. I need to lose weight. I wish I had different strengths. I don’t read my Bible and pray often enough. I’m not strong enough, or funny enough, or outgoing enough. I set my own standard for who I ought to be, and I feel I don’t measure up to that standard. I’m introspective to an unhealthy degree. So, I can get overwhelmed when the first of January rolls around each year, because it’s all too easy for me to dwell in my own places of failure from the past year, and not easy enough for me to see and believe that Jesus’ victory is mine.
But then I crack open my Bible. I read the verse in Isaiah 42 in which the prophet reminds me that Jesus will not break a bruised reed or quench a faintly-burning wick, and I’m reminded that he’s talking about me. I tend to believe that God will be happy with nothing less than perfection; that I’m constantly letting him down. But the love of God isn’t like a failsafe that only switches on in the event that we’ve reached our goals, friends. The love of God is constant, and it’s there for us independent of our accomplishments. That’s why you and I can rest easy this year, whether we reach all our goals or not.
I’m learning to see myself the way he sees me, and my resolution in 2017 is to see this more and more, by his grace. I am defined by my union with Christ. Not my job performance. Not my weight. Not my personality. Not my social abilities. Not how often or how long I read my Bible or pray.
Perhaps you need a fresh perspective, too. Yes, you should work hard, and yes, you can resolve to make changes in your life. All the while, though, remember that at the end of this year, God is still going to love you as much as he loves Jesus whether you followed through on all your resolutions or not.