God’s New Years Resolutions

I understand that God never changes, and that his plan dates back to eternity past. In that sense, the turning of our earthly year means nothing to “the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity” (Isaiah 57:15). However, I also understand that God is gracious enough to stoop down and describe himself in human terms; this helps our puny brains keep up with him.

In that spirit, I humbly offer a dozen of God’s New Years Resolutions, followed by my single New Years Resolution at the end.

God says… “During this coming year…

  1. I RESOLVE to bless you better than you deserve. I don’t give paychecks for your good behavior; I give blessings because of Christ’s perfect behavior. You didn’t earn it; he did. My hand will supply more than you’ll ever realize.
  2. I RESOLVE to continue seeing you just as I see my son, Jesus. You’ve been joined to Christ, and as I label him, so I label you: beautiful, accepted, holy, pure, my child, spiritual royalty, complete.
  3. I RESOLVE to carry you safely through another year. I didn’t bring you this far to let you down now. Great is my faithfulness. I’ve got your hand and won’t let go.
  4. I RESOLVE to never throw your sins and failures back in your face. All your sin and shame was washed away once for all in the flood of Calvary Love. There’s no going back.
  5. I RESOLVE to continue loving you, even when you don’t love me back. I never loved you because of who and what you are or do anyway; my love flows for you because I AM love. I’m glad if you love me back, but never forget the biggest deal of all is that I love you and sent my Son for you (1 John 4:10).
  6. I RESOLVE to keep you safely wrapped in the bubble of eternal salvation. You may see a swarm of worrisome giants on the horizon in this coming year; but losing your salvation shouldn’t be one of them. You are mine. Bank on it.
  7. I RESOLVE to punch the devil and his minions in their ugly little noses as soon as they try to get close to you. You have no idea how many times I shield you each and every day — don’t worry, I won’t stop. And I will “crush Satan under your foot shortly” (Romans 16:20).
  8. I RESOLVE to surprise you with goodness you never saw coming. Your joy is my delight. If a fallen, broken-down race like yours finds joy in surprising your kids with good things, how much more does your Heavenly Father love to give good gifts to his children too!
  9. I RESOLVE to remain the same, yesterday, today, and forever, so you never have to wonder who you’re dealing with. I’m unchanging, and never fickle. As I loved my son, Jesus, so also I will love you forever and ever. You can count on me.
  10. I RESOLVE to keep furnishing your mansion in heaven. Even the tiniest faith in time creates extravagant supply in eternity. Your deepest heartaches will one day fade into oblivion, in the light of eternal joys.  You should see the design I have for you… you’re going to love it!
  11. I RESOLVE to draw close to you in your tough times. You never walk alone. No matter where you turn or what you do this year, I’ll be right there with you. You can’t shake me. I’m happily stuck with you.
  12. I RESOLVE to never shut off the lavish flow of grace coming your way. Even if you’re an idiot. Even if you turn your back on me. Even if anything. Trust me… This is going to be a great year!

So here’s my one and only New Resolution:

I say… “During this coming year…

  1. I RESOLVE to rest my heart and life more fully in the wonderful, infinite, matchless grace of God. “For it is good that the heart be established by grace…” (Hebrews 13:9).[Using the share buttons below makes you extra awesome! Thanks.]

 

GR Combo reduced[If you want to dig more deeply into the wonderful, infinite, matchless grace of God, check out Grace Rehab: The Power of Labeling Yourself the Way God Labels You, with a companion STUDY GUIDE, both on Amazon at www.GraceRehab.net ]

Your New Year’s Resolution ARCHENEMY

Copyright 2009 Bill Giovannetti ARR

Admit it: you’ve given up making New Year’s Resolutions, or at least have flirted with it. It makes no difference. As soon as you start, you know you’re doomed. Lose weight. Read the Bible. Tithe. Love your family/spouse/kids/parents better, write the Great American Novel… You know that by the second weekend of February, it’s all over. You started with a bang, and fizzled out.

Why?

Could it be that your best intentions have an archenemy? Could it be that for every voice within you that calls you to do good, another voice whispers… “We’ll see about that!”?

Your New Year’s Resolutions have a nemesis: your flesh, a.k.a., your Inner Mess.

15 I don’t understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do the very thing I hate. (Romans 7:15, NLT).

“I want to [insert your resolutions here] but I don’t do it. Instead, I do the opposite.”

You do not understand your life until you understand the force inside you that longs for the opposite of everything good.  Your flesh crouches like a beady-eyed troll at the intersection of moral guilt and personal corruption. He spoils every party, trashes every relationship, and sabotages every advance in your life. You are messed up. But don’t take that personally — it’s universal. When Adam sinned, we all fell, teaches Romans 5.

That means your best intentions have an adversary.

The trick is learning how to not be a flesh-dominated person.

As a lifelong confirmed legalist, I hereby testify that these strategies DON’T WORK:

  1. Self punishment
  2. Self sacrifice
  3. Guilt and Shame
  4. Making excuses
  5. Covering up
  6. Trying harder, pedaling faster, determination, resolve, will-power.
  7. Denial

These strategies share the same fatal flaw: they represent attempts to solve the problem of the flesh by means of the energy of the flesh. The flesh can’t solve your flesh’s problems!

You need the power of God.

And that is exactly what Jesus brought with him when he saved you.  He brought supernatural, divine resources. He brought the Holy Spirit. Christ himself lives in you. He brought the promises of God. You have all the power you need to escape the gnarly clutches of the flesh. It is divine power, God’s own power, infused into you.

There are two secrets activating this power on a daily basis:

1. Faith. Trust Jesus Christ to live through you by his Spirit. Ask him to and he will. You received Jesus through faith, and you receive his ongoing provision through ongoing faith. You need a muscular faith. You need a mature faith.

2. Growth. Spiritual maturity, spiritual growth, discipleship… call it what you will. You need to grow up. We Christians expend so much energy solving problems and fixing dysfunctions. Most of our effort is wasted, because we’ve never addressed the problem behind the problem. The problem behind virtually every problem in your spiritual life is simple: LACK OF GROWTH. IMMATURITY IN THE LORD. If you’ve ever enjoyed the company of a well-trained dog, you’ll get this analogy: some Christians are an absolute pleasure to God. Others are annoying little puppies: beloved, but a pain the neck.

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. (Hebrews 5:12, NKJV).

Your resolve is only as good as your faith. Your resolve is only as certain as your growth curve. Your resolve is only as doable as your willingness to tap into divine resources allows.

Determination can only take you so far.

The gracious provision of God can take you all the way.  Christianity is always about us looking away from SELF and looking more and more to CHRIST.

Happy New Year!
Bill

For more about escaping a flesh dominated life, check out my book: How to Keep Your Inner Mess from Trashing Your Outer World. It’s an ideal topic to begin the New Year, with the best part of you in the driver’s seat.