Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Straining Forward

"But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead…"
Philippians 3:13b

Have you made your New Year's resolutions yet? Or maybe you aren't making any. There is an increasingly large number of people who are disillusioned by the "new start, new goals" mentality. I mean, does anyone keep their New Year resolutions?

I looked up Year Year Resolutions on Wikipedia, and the outlook was grim. In part, the article read:

"A New Year's Resolution is a commitment that an individual makes to a project or a habit, often a lifestyle change that is generally interpreted as advantageous. The name comes from the fact that these commitments normally go into effect on New Year's Day and remain until the set goal has been achieved, although many resolutions go unachieved and are often broken fairly shortly after they are set."

Isn't that sad? "Many resolutions go unachieved and are often broken shortly after they are set."

I have personal proof of this, as I am sure most of you do as well. January 1st is an optimistic day, but how many "resolves" have I begun that had little chance for success? Too many.

The fact is, I am essentially the same person I was yesterday. Nothing has changed about my personality or circumstances. So why should I hope to perform better?

The key is found in that we are incapable of "being better" on our own. We have no strength in and of ourselves, and what little we can accomplish is nothing if we fail to recognise that our righteousness comes not from our own successes but from faith in God. It is through the power of Jesus' death and resurrection that we can have a relationship with Him. We are nothing on our own!

Paul said it like this:

"Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:8-11)"

Jesus Christ has made me His own. Resolutions are not to be entered into lightly. Are you trying to accomplish anything under the power of your own steam this New Year's? Rely on the Lord's strength. Only then can you resolve to do anything.

Yes, I am making New Year Resolutions this year. It is nice to have a fresh start -- even if I am the same person I was yesterday. The good news is that I won't stay the way I was yesterday. I am being conformed into the image of God's Son Jesus Christ. I pray 2008 will see great changes in my life, my attitudes, my relationships, and my spiritual walk. So put 2007 and its mistakes behind. Strain forward. He is faithful.

1 comment:

Mandy Grace said...

Amen! I am making some new goals for this year too. In fact, I just read something on this same topic yesterday in the Screwtape Letters. People are quick to make goals and start new projects, but more often than not, they fail to carry them out to completion. We can only truly succeed on God's srength!