“yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.”
As we begin a new year and decade, many of us start out with promises to do better. Sometimes we live up to these; most times we don’t. Well, let me say that I have made plenty of resolutions that I have not kept. This is actually a problem because our vows are far more serious than we realize.
Deuteronomy 23:21-23 If you make a vow to the Lord your God, you shall not delay fulfilling it, for the Lord your God will surely require it of you, and you will be guilty of sin. But if you refrain from vowing, you will not be guilty of sin. You shall be careful to do what has passed your lips, for you have voluntarily vowed to the Lord your God what you have promised with your mouth.
My first reaction is that my New Year’s Resolutions don’t actually count as “vows” but rather more as “guidelines”, but who am I kidding besides myself? I guess there is a big difference in boasting about what I CAN do and about what I most likely CAN’T do. I can put my dirty socks in the hamper. Losing that flab, not so much.
You see, I’m finding more and more that my own abilities are not able to match my promises, even if they are more wish than commitment. I’m finding more and more that I must go to God to get done what needs to be resolved. I’m finding more and more my promises and resolutions should be repentance. Here’s an interesting thought. Instead of New Year’s Resolutions, how about a list of New Year’s Repentances? But we are then back to the same problem – we then have to actually repent which means we have to actually change. Ooof!
It seems, therefore, that our shortcomings and sin should be matters that humble us so that we may then, with confidence, “draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16) How might our conversations between each other be if we spoke like this? “Gosh, another year gone by and I haven’t lost the weight from the year before! It’s time for a real attitude adjustment so that I might take this to Jesus. He’s my real hope, anyway.”
That would go over like a lead balloon at most office water coolers. That’s probably because it doesn’t come naturally off our lips. Christians tend to look at our problems like the world looks at theirs, at least I do. I guess if I’m going to change anything, it should start with how I look at the problem in the first place.
Folks, I hope you don’t get tired of me harping on this same topic. It seems that I have been stuck in Romans 7 for an awfully long time and forgetting there is Romans 8. Maybe so, but I have also been slow to understand just how entrenched my sin actually is. Furthermore, I’m slow to understand just how much my pride is standing in the way from true repentance. Yes, I have repented at my conversion, but my work is not yet complete.
So, my year end hope is to not make promises that I can’t keep. Instead, I hope to ask God to clearly show me that I can’t solve my problems, and that I need him. Finally, I pray that I might go to him and receive mercy and grace. He’s not going to let me rid myself of my sin. No, that’s what Jesus came to do, and he paid a heavy price for it. Why would I look to myself when Jesus freely offers everything I need?
It’s actually quite simple, when you think about it. I can rejoice in that.
Father, I’m finding I need you more and more. The more I mature in faith, the more I realize just how dependent I am on you. You are renewing my mind, aren’t you? That’s kind of funny how you do that. Amen.
Copyright © 2020 Scott Powers