There is a way which seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death. Prov 14:12
It’s that time of year where we once again look at our lives and try to figure out how to fix what went wrong from last year.
- we feel bloated from holiday overeating
- we feel stressed from the pressures of the past few months
- we feel exhausted from over committing our time & activities
- we are panicked over the state of our finances
[clickToTweet tweet=”Are our recent failures/trials driving our longing for true change in our lives?” quote=”In short, our recent failures/trials drive our longing for true change in our lives.”]
Resolution or Transformation, which do you want?
Oh trust me, I have these same (and probably more) struggles with the ending of each past year, plus the desire to make the new year different. Looking ahead to the empty boxes on those calendar pages and the
blank fresh feeling of newness in front of us, we determine to do things differently!
We make hard and fast promises to ourselves.
We get accountability partners.
We make exhaustive (and exhausting) plans that often just lead us to failure.We (metaphorically) beat ourselves up over those failures.
And by the 3rd week in January, we find ourselves stuck in frustration, exasperation and the very strong desire to just give up!
Welcome to the world of the Resolution!
- Resolutions promise nothing more than self-effort and self-will.
- Resolutions can deliver nothing to our soul or our spirits.
- Resolutions are born from the flesh.
Typical New Year’s Resolutions begin and end in a determined (and often guilt-filled) focus on ME.
Please know I am NOT saying we shouldn’t change, or even desire to change. ABSOLUTELY we should! But that change should not be borne out of frustration over failure. [clickToTweet tweet=”Real change in our lives must be borne out of a longing for Jesus – coming from faith and joy!” quote=”Change in our lives, for it to be real and lasting, must be borne out of a longing for Jesus – coming from faith and joy!”]
The transformation of the Surrendered Life.
That great miracle of salvation didn’t come into our lives through self-will on our part. It came to us through faith, faith given to us as a gift of God. What in the world makes us think that we can handle the rest on our own?
Jesus didn’t die on the cross so that we can receive His salvation and say, “OK, Jesus. I’ve got it from here! I’ve got my support groups and my self help books and my plans to get my life in order of what I think it should be. You can take it easy and just watch the show.”
Well, it certainly IS a show we put on from there!
But we must finally come to the end of our rope and realize that our salvation (including the sanctification or metamorphosis of our lives into the image of the Son) begins and ends with Jesus. Real and lasting change in our lives only comes from Jesus as well. All the fleshly resolutions in all the New Years of our lives cannot change us to live out the Messiah in our thoughts and lives.
But there IS a resolution that can be birthed in us from God’s heart!
The mind of man plans his way,
But the LORD directs his steps. Prov 16:9
The first thing we need to ask is, not what changes do I want to make, but what area does God want to change in me.
This is much more vulnerable. This is much harder. This cuts more deeply to the core of who we are and what we want to be. Because it rejects what I want to be and takes up what God calls me to be.
This is the core of living the Surrendered Life.
It is in this place of surrender that the Spirit will guide us to make changes in our lives. He gives specific direction, maybe even specific goals. But He always gives us the strength to carry on in the face of struggles and failing.
- The changes that He leads us to in our lives come from faith, not fear.
- The changes that He leads us to in our lives bring hope, not despair.
- The changes that He leads us to in our lives go deep, not just on the surface.
- The changes that He leads us to in our lives point us to Him, not to us.
- The changes that He leads us to in our lives bring power, not promises.
On the outside these changes may look just like those New Year’s resolutions we made and broke. But they are nothing like them. They are borne from the fullness of salvation offered us on the cross through the power of the Spirit of God. They are fulfilled through the promise of God, not the resolve of man.
Embarking on a lifetime of eternal change.
I wish I could come before you and tell you that I’ve done it. That I have learned what you need to know to live the surrendered life with Jesus. That I have the secret of obtaining those changes in our lives to live out Jesus. What I can tell you is the path I’ve followed that, year by year, brings me baby steps closer to the King of Kings. I have more failures than successes, more struggles than triumphs. So why do I think I even have anything to share with you?
Because Jesus called me to disciple: to teach others to do all that He commanded!
I’m no expert, but I don’t want you getting sucked into a path of death that I have followed in my own life. I don’t want you getting pulled into the lure of the fleshly self-effort that never brings life. I want you to walk in JOY and VICTORY and POWER that only comes from full surrender to the Lord of the Universe and walking by the Spirit of God placed within our very hearts.
So today, how can YOU avoid the resolution trap and begin to seek God’s transforming power in your life? How is God calling you to live toward change in the Son of God, by His might and by His grace?
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