Well, here we are! A new year is upon us, and if you’re like me, you’re almost through the first week of resolutions that you promised yourself you’d finally do! Maybe this year you decided to get super healthy, and now, six days in, you couldn’t be more tired of plain chicken and broccoli. Or maybe you decided to go to the gym everyday, but at this point all you’re left with is sore arms and a disgruntled attitude every morning.
Last weekend, Pastor Alec started the New Year with an idea that maybe sometimes these resolutions don’t stick because they’re rooted in a selfish ideal, separate from the Lord. We try so desperately to create a new, better version of ourselves each year because we think it will make us feel or look better, and maybe it will! But Alec reminded us that without rooting ourselves in the Lord and truly seeking Him, it's all futile and will eventually fail us.
Think about Paul in Romans 7:
“We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.”
Now, this passage can be a little difficult to read, and is essentially a wordy way of telling us that because of the fall, and because of our sinful nature, we cannot be good by ourselves. Earlier in the chapter he is helping people understand the balance of the law and God’s grace. He’s letting us know that the law is not inherently bad, and is a great thing, but we must not be bound to it, but rather walk in the law, knowing that we’re made alive by God’s grace. In the same way, our New Year's resolutions are in no way bad, but we have to be careful to not slip into an obsession with them, or try to focus on them apart from the Lord. God calls us to be good stewards of what He’s given us, like our bodies, our homes, our families, and our finances, and resolutions can be a great way to re-center, but just like Paul is reminding us, we cannot be successful without rooting them in the Lord and His call on our lives.
So enjoy the renewal that the New Year brings, with a fresh start and a desire to better ourselves. But let's be careful to implement these things in a way that glorifies God, stewarding what He’s blessed us with.
Happy New Year!
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