Well, it’s January 8 and you know what that means? Yes it means it’s Hump Day again, but more than that, statistically speaking it means most of us who made any sort of New Year’s resolutions have already failed at most of them. And some who haven’t failed are already finding sticking to their resolution to be a struggle and frustrating and you are questioning why you are even bothering.
Maybe you resolved to make healthier choices with food or drink. You resolved that what you eat and what you drink will not be your source of comfort and joy this year. You will show self control. You won’t become one of those self-righteous sticks in the mud who can’t enjoy a good meal or dessert or beer or glass of wine, but you will enjoy them as gifts from God, not as lifelines.
But then there’s the invitation to a friends house and you don’t want to be rude. And there are all those cookies and candy and you don’t want to be wasteful so they HAVE to be eaten so that you can get them out of the house and start your resolution in earnest. And now you’re feeling like your resolution is pretty much a failure.
Or maybe you resolved to have a little more unconditional love in your heart. Maybe toward your wife or maybe toward your children. A little more patience, a little more compassion, a little more empathy and listening and less talking and correcting and screaming and ignoring. The problem is that conditions aren’t always that optimal for unconditional love. Sometimes it’s too early in the morning for this conversation again. Sometimes it’s too late in the evening to listen to them. Sometimes they are acting like CHILDREN. Sometimes he is so frustrating. Sometimes she is so cold. And you fall and you fail and your resolution didn’t get you anything except, if you told your family what it was, a dirty look or critical comment.
You tried. You meant well. you fell flat. Now what?
For half of us, we will resolve more better. Dig in your heals. Do better. Try harder. Take that hill. Move that barge. You thought you were resolved, but you ain’t seen nothin yet. Grab those boot straps and get up!
For half of us we will resign. You tried, you failed, but who could possibly succeed surrounded by these sinners? You don’t know my wife. You don’t know my husband. You don’t know my children. You don’t know my circumstances.
Or, worse, you realize you failed and it is entirely your own doing. You resolved. You were earnest. You were sincere. You wanted to do good, but the more you wanted to do better the more there was something there pulling you back down, tripping you up, tempting you to give up or give in.
“So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand (No, not in your spouse or your children or your pantry, but right there in your own heart). For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin.” Romans 7.21-23.
“I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” Romans 7.19.
What is there for resolvers and resigned alike? What hope do you have if you couldn’t even make it through the first seven days of 2014? Wretched person that you are, who can deliver you from this body of death? (Romans 7.24)
There is Christ. There is always and only Christ. Christ for the resolvers so sure that their sins only exist in response to other people’s sins. Christ for the resigned who are certain that they have blown it for the umpteenth and final time.
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 7.25-8.1
If you are going to resolve this year, resolve that you will know nothing but Jesus Christ, and him crucified. Resolve that you will not take even one step away from total and absolute dependence on Christ for your deliverance. Resolve to remember that if grace were something you deserved it wouldn’t be grace. Resolve that the gospel not be something those annoying sinners in your life need but something you need this year, this day, everyday.
If you are going to resign this year, resign yourself to the fact that you are indeed the worst sinner in your life and God loves you and sent his Son to die for you and He does not condemn you anymore, so neither should you. Resign yourself to understand that if grace were something you could earn it wouldn’t be grace anymore. Resign yourself to absolute and utter dependence on Christ and His work this year, this day, everyday.
Resolve to know Christ and Christ alone. Resign to need Christ and Christ always. And enjoy the journey.