Hello readers. Welcome to my heart. Let's begin.
Apologetically, I've been making fun of the people who enjoy posting "New Me in 2013" Tweets and Facebook posts. But honestly, if you get me alone and get to the depths of my heart, I'm happy and encouraged by any level of hope. Yes, hope can be placed in the wrongs things, but ultimately it's still hope. We can deal with what people are hoping in, but at least their hearts are still hoping.
But I had a thought last year, (see what I did there?), actually it was a few days ago, as I've been personally gearing up towards a new year and making fun of the people who do those silly Tweets. I love that they're excited about being able to start over. I mean, let's think about it. There is something very exciting and rewarding when we are approach something new. When we're approaching a new semester, we "claim" that we are not going to enter into this new semester with the same study habits and poor time management. We go shopping for new books and pens and tablets to get prepared for the new semester. And as we enter into the new year, we're thinking up of resolutions and goals and going into the new year very positive for a clean slate. And I was thinking about this,
God offers us NEW everyday!
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17-18
I've listened to some friends and coworkers speak about their New Year's Resolutions. And again, not to knock people's goals and ambitions, but it is always interesting to hear the list of things people say they are shooting for in the new year. And I'm not going to go so far as to say that I do not make New Year's Resolutions, because I do, but what I am suggesting is that many of our resolutions require us to make heart change. The one that really gets to my heart is when people suggest that they want to get back in church and get serious about God. The hope is beautiful. The fact that they're thinking about it is beautiful. But it again shows the human condition that plagues many of us. It's this lie, "I must be good before I can go to God."
"Let's wait for the new year. New slate. Haven't sinned greatly in 2013 yet, so God will want to see me in church."
Let me help you a little bit. You'll never be good enough for God. Your understanding of a justice system is hindering you. Many of us know we have sinned, and we know we deserve to be judged and sent to Hell. I've heard countless people make jokes about God sending them to Hell because deep down they have this understanding that they should be judged, or this misunderstanding that the debt of their sins can't be forgiven. And this breaks my heart. That people don't have an understanding of the Gospel. Where the Gospel screams that even though we are fallen, sinful, and not good enough, we're raised up, seen as blameless and holy because of Jesus. And here many of us, would rather chain ourselves back to the law. We have no understanding of the Gospel at all, and we go into the new year creating new laws for ourselves, only to fall short again. Even though Jesus has freed us from the Law, we continue to shackle ourselves to things that are going to condemn us and cause us to live in shame, not realizing that the offer of salvation is our only true hope into the new year, which will drive us into our new lives. So, I'm challenging you to walk into the newness of God.
I guarantee you that if we all would seek heart change instead of stricter disciplines, a genuine delight will develop in those disciplines. You wanting to lose weight in 2013 may involve you seeking deep within yourself of why it's important for you to lose weight. That your health is connected to you wanting to fit into that dress. You being able to run with your kids, or to live a long and healthy life, is also a concern with you wanting a shirt that's tight on your arms. Heart change. And you getting back into church or getting things right with God, needs to happen that you understand first that things will be made right when you accept that Jesus is the only way things can be made right. You having perfect attendance this year will not make you right with God. You not partying until Spring Break will not make you right with God. It will only happen when you receive Jesus, who has made us right with God and now we can be made new in Him.
Here's the practical portion of the blog, or here's what I'm basically saying. Let's remove the limitations of a yearly resolutions into pursuing true life change. Let's get into what will help us to make these changes that we seek. The hope of new is encouraging to us, but let's respond better. Let's realize God is offering us new everyday. Because there is no condemnation for those that are IN CHRIST, which means His grace and mercy is covering us as He is sanctifying us. So friend, you will fall this year. You will fail this year. You will not succeed in all things. You will fall short. But God's grace is sufficient for you as you pursue holiness, which has to start and begin with Him. So let's look into pursuing life long resolutions by seeking heart change by Him. Respond to Him friends.
Respond to Him. I guarantee you that He is ready to make you new. You don't need success in your resolutions to be made new, He has already provided that way for you to be. And it doesn't require you to keep anything.
So this year, breathe. You're free to be where you are and who you are. But challenge yourselves. Let Jesus be your New Year's Resolution. Through Jesus, you can be "New Me in 2013".
And some of you may have come to hear my New Year's Resolutions. Sorry, didn't mean to preach to you today. Here's mine.
New Year's Resolutions 2013
1. Continuing to Love Jesus, Teach Jesus, Live Jesus.
2. Serve harder.
3. Love harder.
4. Pursue harder.
5. Graduate college.
6. Finish the re-write of my book entitled Sweetly Broken.
7. Continue pursuing a healthier lifestyle to encourage my family. And so I can look good in the
fashion style I want to be able to pull off. ;-)Win/Win.
8. Read the entire Bible
9. Grow in my evangelism.
10. Find my wife! ;-)