On becoming a new creation, by Hannah.
There is something about a closing year that lends itself well to reflection, and a well-known tradition in many cultures is the writing of resolutions for the upcoming year. Yet often, these goals are abandoned quickly.. perhaps even by the end of January. Resolve has become something of a mockery. We expect to do well at keeping resolutions at the outset of a new year, but then for the initial passion to fade, and our resolve with it. We expect to fail.
I think it’s interesting that, as was mentioned in this Sunday’s message at my church, the word passion is linked to the idea of suffering. Perhaps the reason we fail is that eventually, we recognize that obtaining our goals will take more than just the buzz of warm, fuzzy-feelings… rather, it takes suffering, sacrifice, and pain. We don’t like pain- so we quit.
As believers who have been renewed by Christ, our lives need growth, renewal, and resolve. We need to make commitments and to keep pressing on toward spiritual maturity.. not just every year, but constantly. We need passion to become new creations, the old things having passed away. Yet, if resolve is treated as a joke, how can this be accomplished?
In this case, the answer may be unpopular – experiencing discomfort, but continuing to pursue God, anyway. Continuing to be committed and faithful. Continuing to keep our resolutions, even when it does not bring personal pleasure or reward. This is not something which can be done on our own. We are human, weak, and will still fail. However, the difference lies in our source of strength, the focus of our devotion, and the belief that we can continue, despite the obstacles. God is the only source dependable enough on which to base true resolve.
I like the verse which says:
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
– Philippians 1:6 (NLT)
It doesn’t say, God will start a work in us, and then change His mind, get bored, or give up. It says, God will continue and finish His work. He will complete His work in us. Through His power, and His power alone are we able to not only resolve to be a new creation, but to live that out.
Let me ask: what resolutions is God asking you to make in your life so that you can greater reflect Him? More importantly, are you prepared to meet them by trusting in His power, even if it means experiencing some discomfort or suffering?
We rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us to develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
– Romans 5:3-5 (NLT)
Have you ever failed to keep a New Year’s resolution? What do you think contributed to your failure?
To find out more about Hannah, visit our writer’s page.