With the New Year, millions of people, worldwide, will make resolutions to lose weight, eat healthier, exercise, or quit smoking. The New Year can be a useful milestone from which we build better habits. Realistically, however, we know that most of these vows are as short-lived as they are well intentioned. More often than not, resolutions only prove our inability to change our behavior willfully. In breaking resolutions, we demonstrate that there are very stubborn limitations to the power of human determination.
Thank God that our salvation doesn’t rely on our resolve to do better in the coming year. God does not love us for our strength, our ability or our will-power. Our acceptance rests entirely on the completed work of Christ Jesus.
“So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.” (Romans 9: 16 NASB).
New Year’s Day
Many Christians will take the opportunity to gather for praise, prayer, or perhaps, commence a fast. These are all wonderful ways to celebrate the New Year. Even so, New Year’s Day is an arbitrary holiday with no inherent spiritual significance. The Apostle Paul writes that observing particular days above other is a personal matter.
“One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.” (Romans 14:5 NASB).
Realistically, New Year’s Day is just a change of the calendar. We turn the page and increment the year. There was a time when Western Culture prefixed the date with, “The Year of Our Lord,” which is a rough translation of the Latin words Anno Domini, (or A.D.). Regardless of political correctness, Christians know that another year has passed since God became flesh and dwelt among us; we know that we are another year closer to the return of Christ and the judgment of this age.
I must admit; a cynical view of the coming year looks much like the year in the rear-view, or perhaps, “year-view” mirror. Are we reliving the same year over and over like Bill Murray’s character repeated one day in the movie, “Groundhog’s Day?” Does this year look like last year? Is the world filled with evil? Check. Is there inexplicable violence? Check. Has politics turned into a theatre of the absurd. Check. Is there a desperate need for the redemption that is found only in Christ Jesus? Yes, more so than ever. It’s a fact; it’s nearly impossible to see the power of God manifest if our eyes are fixed on the news. But the Book of Hebrews explains this clearly,
“But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him. But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus” (Hebrews 2:8-9 NASB).
By faith, we see the One for whom and through whom all things were made. A revelation of Jesus sustains us. The empowerment of His Holy Spirit upholds us. According to Hebrews 11, faith is our assurance of everything we hope for; faith is the evidence of what we do not see.'Drawing near to God,' might sound like another resolution, but we have the promise He'll draw near to us. Click To Tweet
A Christian New Year’s Revolution
If all this seems like “Groundhog Year” to me… if everything seems the same, could it be I’m standing still? Have I stopped moving forward with the Kingdom of God? The answer is to draw nearer to God. By itself, “Draw near to God,” might seem to be just another empty New Year’s resolution; it would be quickly forgotten and discarded. Except for the fact that drawing nearer to God bears a scriptural promise. In James 4:8, the Scripture says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” Drawing nearer to God isn’t just another resolution, it comes with God’s assurance that He will draw near to us. It’s not an empty pledge; it’s a connection to the Most High. It’s a step of faith on our part that will be met by the Living God. The prophet Hosea writes,
“So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; and He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain watering the earth.” (Hosea 6:3 NASB).
God’s presence generates change and growth. As surely as the sun will come up tomorrow morning, God is moving. As faithfully as He sends rain to the earth, He will come to those who press on to know Him. Several centuries after Hosea wrote those words, the Apostle Paul shared the same thought.
“Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:11-14 NASB).
Pressing on with God isn’t a resolution; it’s a revolution. God empowers our sincere desire to reconnect with Him. Each want and worry becomes a distant second-place to the joy of having our lives upended by a renewed walk of faith in Him.