Happy New Year everyone. I pray that 2012 will be a year of rich blessing for you, and that your heart will feel alive and free as you continually offer it up to Jesus in worship and surrender.
Did you make any New Years resolutions? Apparently thousands of people are expected to try and quit smoking in New Zealand this January with a new price increase helping to provide the catalyst. Have you ever bought a gym membership with great intentions to get up early for a workout but lost the desire within a few weeks? Maybe you vowed to lose weight or read your bible more or save your money instead of spending it frivolously? Behind all of these kinds of resolutions is a desire to be more whole, more free, more joy-full. The desire is good but the results are often disastrous. What goes wrong?
It’s quite simple really. We can’t fix ourselves. By making the resolution we admit that we are weak, but the human problem hasn’t been admitting weakness (well, maybe for Calvin!); it’s admitting dependence. It’s admitting that we don’t have the strength to fix our weaknesses but God does; God alone does. These are the first three steps of Alcoholics Anonymous:
- We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
Substitute sin for alcohol and you have every person’s story. For those of us who have the joy of knowing Jesus as our Lord, King, friend and brother, our invitation is also the same; to turn our will and our lives over to Jesus and trust him with our hearts. It’s allowing the God-given desires of freedom, wholeness and joy to drive us into the arms of Jesus. “Come to me” he says in Matthew 11:28 “and I will give you rest.” He’s talking about Shalom; the Jewish idea of all being well because God reigns; the kingdom of God at work in the world. But Shalom can exist in our hearts when we allow Jesus to reign there, when we allow Jesus to fix us and heal us, when we allow Jesus to forgive us and restore us and when we allow Jesus to love us and lead us.
So, if there’s something you want to see changed in your life in 2012 (I have a very long list for myself – and yes, it involves losing weight!), then start with Jesus and not yourself. Worship him, surrender to him, be weak before him (this is what confession is all about) and then like Paul you may hear God saying, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT).”
God’s resolution is for us to know life in him, life in all its fullness; a full, free and joy-full life for all eternity through Jesus our friend and king. In 2012, let’s allow God free reign in us and pour his life into ours.