Happy New Year! If you are like most people, you have already considered your resolutions for the New Year. Maybe you desire to lose a few pounds. Maybe you desire to start eating a healthier diet. Maybe you desire to unplug more often. I suspect that I may see some of you at the gym in the next few weeks. (I further suspect that I’ll join you in purchasing my first ever gym membership in the next week or so.) All of these are great and noble goals. And I hope that you succeed.
Unfortunately the odds are not in your favor. Studies show only a small percentage of folks achieve the goals they set at New Year. I think we have an innate desire to do right, but we often do the things we don’t intend to do.
The Apostle Paul talks about doing the things he doesn’t want to do and not doing the things he does want to do. “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.” (Romans 7:15 NLT) It sounds like a too familiar story to me. I’m not sure how many times I’ve established honorable goals only to fall flat on my face a short time later. Perhaps the goals I establish are impossible. Maybe there is no room for success in this respectable ambition. Or maybe there is something bigger going on than I can see with my eyes.
Paul’s comments are in regards to the war in the mind of body of anyone who follows Christ. “I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.” (Romans 7:21-23 NLT)
Wherever we go, sin is not far away. As Christ followers there is a battle. We desire to do right. Yet we too often do wrong. Where is the victory? Is victory possible? Is this goal of doing right attainable? Are my noble ambitions worth the fight?
“Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 7:24-25a NLT)
God the Father knew us in our depravity. Yet he chose to send his only son, Jesus, to die a sinner’s death on the cross in our place. Victoriously, Jesus rose on the third day and now intercedes for us. There is hope! There is victory in Christ Jesus!
“But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead.” (Ephesians 2:4-5a NLT)
As I contemplate how to start this new year, I think it wise to remember how I want this story to end. Since I have new life in Christ the best ending I can imagine is to know Jesus and to make Him known. Will you consider making this your goal this year as well? — To know Jesus and to make Him known