I’ve had this post on my heart since New Year’s…ever since I thought about how many people will be making them…digging deep for determination to meet goals and accomplish things…hoping against hope that maybe this year, they’ll be able to manage whatever it is they want to do or think they should do. In fact, many people would have us believe that New Year’s is the time to determine that this year we will be better people.
I know some people make different types of resolutions, and I certainly have nothing against the concept of setting goals.
But we can’t improve ourselves. That is such an important thing for us to learn! For we are dead. And dead men can’t make themselves better people. This is not something to get depressed and feel hopeless about, though. Acceptance and revelation of this fact is the doorway to another reality…a reality that is filled with hope and promise and fulfillment, for this is where every promise of strength and joy is fulfilled by the One who is our all in all, who mounts us up with wings like eagles (Is. 40:31), who is our refuge and fortress (Ps. 91:1-2), who prepares a table in the wilderness (Ps. 23), who shows us who we are in Christ (Col 1:27) and what we look like through the eyes of perfect love. For it is then that these revelations renew our mind, which leads to the transformation of ourselves (Rom. 12:2) that we so desperately want.
As I was thinking about this on New Year’s day, I started to think, then, that the best New Year’s resolution was to simply seek God. And yet…
It is certainly true that when we seek Him, we’ll find Him (Jer. 29:13), and that it is in knowing Him and basking in the glory of His presence that He changes us (2 Cor. 3:18). But anyone who’s ever set a resolution to seek God every day knows that we’re too dead to succeed even at that.
So what is there left that we can do?
I think it’s as simple as making a one-time decision. That right now, for today, I choose to throw myself upon the mercy of God, to thank Him for His forgiveness and love and saving grace, and to ask Him to change me.
And when tomorrow becomes today, I can make that choice again…but it is no good trying to make tomorrow’s choice today (James 4:13-16). I’ve come to the conclusion that God works in the here and now, and only in the here and now, for that’s where the Alpha and Omega lives. He’s not interested in what we plan to do, and He’s not all that interested in what we did yesterday–that’s forgiven and forgotten. He’s always only interested in the choice our heart makes right now.
But as tomorrow and the day after turn into a new today, we can rejoice that His mercies are new every morning (Lam. 3:22-23), And if our heart has strayed, we can petition Him to create a clean heart in us again (Ps. 51:10) and once more make a choice for that moment. And then there is nothing more for us to do but wait on Him.
This is the song that was running through me all night long: