Trust in the Lord with all you heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Around this time of year, people often make New Year’s Resolutions. Probably the most common New Year’s Resolutions are to lose weight, eat healthier foods, exercise more, stop a bad habit and start a good habit. And while resolving to make positive changes in one’s life is always good, I find that I make little or no progress towards my annual New Year’s Resolutions. I could write out the same list of annual goals year after year because a year later I am no closer to achieving what I set out to do the year before. Why is it so hard to change ourselves for the better?
The reason is, first of all, because we are not addressing the root cause of the problems in our lives and, second, as we seek to address the surface issues in our lives, we are trying to do so with only our own power. The surface issues we face will never improve until the root cause of those surface issues is addressed. And our own power is totally inadequate for addressing what is really needs to be changed in in our lives.
This New Year’s Eve, instead of thinking about how much we weigh or how we look, let us, first of all, reflect on our relationship with God. How have you failed to love God with all of your heart, soul, strength and mind? How have you failed to love your neighbour as yourself? Everyone of us is a sinful, broken person who would be lost forever if not for God’s love and mercy shown to us in his Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus willingly suffered and died for the whole world so that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. And the eternal life that Jesus gives us is a great and glorious life because it is life with him that begins now in this vale of tears and continues on into forever, culminating in complete wholeness, healing and restoration in the new heaven and earth.
Second, let us think of our relationship with ourselves. Do you love yourself unconditionally like Jesus does? Do you accept your human limitations and imperfections like Jesus does? Do you live in the freedom and joy of Jesus complete and total forgiveness? All who trust in Jesus are children of God who are 100% forgiven, infinitely loved and unconditionally accepted by God through his Son, Jesus Christ. Now there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus and nothing, not even death, will separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Why do some of us still condemn ourselves and see ourselves as unacceptable when God no longer does? Do we think that we are greater than God?
What would it take for you to fall more deeply in love with Jesus? What would have to change for you to see yourself the way that Jesus sees you? If you resolve nothing other than to pray to Jesus about those two questions in 2015, it will positively transform your life in a far greater way than the usual things we resolve to do. And who knows? As Jesus deals with the root issues in your life, he may also help you to lose weight, eat healthier and exercise more. With the main issues of our life settled, we will be better able, with Jesus’ help, to address the surface issues that concern us.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, help me to fall more deeply in love with you in 2015. Help me to see myself and love and accept me like you do. Amen.