So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!
2013 is here and we mark the turning of another season, of another year. As we wait out the cold and soggy weather ahead, we look to the New Year as a time that is ripe with possibility and we know that winter’s dread will soon give way to the light and life that is spring. This is also the time of year for that honored tradition of making New Year’s resolutions. Have you made your New Year’s resolutions yet? What are you hoping for in the New Year?
I gave up on making New Year’s resolutions years ago. I found that as resolute as I wanted to be, it was difficult for me to maintain the appropriate willpower to see my intentions through. Oh, I would always start out with energy and enthusiasm, ready to count my points on Weight Watchers or intending to exercise more and eat less. Then the siren song of a cheeseburger would call to me, and the treadmill would become a repository for clothes and stuff that didn’t fit on the shelf. One more episode of Mythbusters, one more bowl of ice-cream and I have completely blown all of the promises I have made to myself about becoming a newer, better person who watches less TV and eats less bad stuff.
It’s not that I lack for enthusiasm. I want to change, it’s that my ability to make sweeping changes falters, and I find myself falling into my easy and comfortable routines once again. Plus, ice cream is delicious, and I can fool myself into thinking that TV is educational as well as entertaining. My lack of commitment to New Year’s resolutions serves to keep me from being disappointed in myself and my many failures. Why try if it’s not going to work?
But commitment is exactly what God gives to us not just in the New Year, but all year long. God is committed to being with us. Immanuel, God with us, is born at Christmas time, and his greatness is revealed during Epiphany. The Christ Child puts on our frail human flesh and provides us with salvation. There is no act that we can do, no resolution we can keep, no work of our own that can cleanse us from sin. It is only through the power of Christ that we are made new, redeemed by His sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection on Easter morning. We are promised that if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation, and that the old will pass away. It’s difficult to let the old us die and embrace the new!
No matter how good our intentions, or lofty our goals we can never rid ourselves of sin. Like my many efforts at New Year’s resolutions, we will be doomed to fail. It’s not that we don’t have enough enthusiasm or willpower, it’s that we are human. I think where I have failed most is not inviting God to walk alongside me when I am trying to make myself a better person, when I am trying to resolve my issues without asking for His help.
So this year I resolve to invite the One who is there, who makes all things new, to help make me a new creation. Working on resolving it by myself hasn’t worked out so well!
Yours in Christ,