God’s New Years Resolutions

I like New Years resolutions as much as I enjoy having my gums scraped. By mid-January, those resolutions mock me. The Bible-reading plan goes sideways, the bathroom scales audibly groan, and the personal organization collapses into chaos. So, rather than slogging through yet another depressing list of ways I will fail, I decided to flip this year’s resolutions on their head.

What if I shifted the focus from my resolve to God’s? What if instead of starting the year with my bound-to-fail determination, I instead recalibrated my heart to his never-failing grace? I think that’s a great way to start a new year.

A resolution is “a firm decision to do or not to do something,” and God’s resolve to lavish grace upon me is new every morning. So here are my top five divine resolutions for 2015. I will write them as God’s words to me.

GOD’S NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS

1. I will provide all your need. 

“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19, NKJV.

Yes, that’s my promise to you. And I always deliver right on time. Don’t be anxious. And don’t fear. Oh, one more thing. Be sure not to confuse your wants with your needs. There’s a difference you know. I am resolved with a infinite determination to meet all your need right on time. 

2. I will never throw your sins in your face. 

“Then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”” Hebrews 10:17, NKJV.

That’s the power of my Son’s Cross. His death cleansed you of every guilt, every shame, every condemnation, and every stain. He left nothing out. You have total forgiveness. Your record is clean; I have washed you white as snow, and that is how you shall stay. I promise. 

3. I will treat you better than you treat yourself. 

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28, NKJV.

All things. Nothing is too small, nothing too big. You matter to me. If I gave you the most costly gift imaginable when I gave you my Son, you can be confident I will care for the small things too. Trust me. Rest in my love. Grace means I will always set you at the convergence of your highest good and my highest glory. 

4. I will keep on keeping you saved. handofgrace

“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38, 39, NKJV.

You are secure in the arms of my love. I will see you safely home. You may feel you have much to worry about (not true), but please cross your eternal salvation off your list. Once you’re saved, you’re always saved. No matter what. Even if you fail. Even if you do something incredibly stupid. Even if anything. I promise. It’s my eternal resolution to you. 

5. I will protect you from more than you know. 

“The LORD is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him.” Nahum 1:7, NKJV.

Do not be afraid. I never sleep. I never slumber. I never let down my guard. I am watching over your like a hawk. No weapon formed against you will prosper. All those who rise against you will fall. That’s the power of my amazing grace. 

I’m glad my God can keep his resolutions. I’m feeling good about 2015. With God and his grace, it’s going to be a very good year.

Happy New Year! I hope and pray a richer, fuller, deeper experience of the matchless grace of God for you!


Grace Intervention Cover

Grace Intervention on Amazon.

You can start your New Year with your own personal grace reset. Grace Intervention is now available online and wherever books are sold. Click here for a downloadable study guide for small groups, classes, and personal reflection. Here are some snippets from early reviews:

  • Bill Giovannetti has given the church a fantastic treasure! On most every page I found myself vacillating between a heart-humbling gratitude for God’s total embrace and a heart-pounding desire to stand up and cheer! ~Jeremy White, Author of Grace unCut and senior pastor Valley Church, Vacaville, CA. 
  • In every church there’s usually some guy who’s been around the block long enough that he is no longer intimidated by the games religious people play. This is the guy you love to hang out with because he’s real and because he loves people the way Jesus loves people. Bill Giovannetti reminds me of that guy! In this insightful and daring analysis of the modern church, he sees through the hash-tagging, hipster appeal of neo-legalism and identifies the symptoms of Christianity’s worst disease: Grace Deficit Disorder. Grace Intervention is a breath of fresh air for Christians who are tired of playing games and doing their duty. It is an emphatic declaration of God’s good and gracious commitment to you! ~Paul Ellis, best selling author of The Big House and The Gospel in Twenty Questions
  • Bill addresses the various forms of legalism that destroy our freedom in Christ.  It is not dumbed-down or politically correct; it is written to help us talk with one another about our great God and his grace upon us — after all, isn’t that what theology is? To talk about God!  Take your time reading and reflecting on these fifteen chapters — They may just change your life addressing that “Grace Deficit Disorder” that so many of us have experienced! ~Rev. Patrick A. Blewett, D.Min., Ph.D., Dean, A.W. Tozer Theological Seminary
  • So often the “shoulds” and “should nots” in life threaten to overwhelm my joy and I get lost in a sea of guilt and hopelessness.  But God never intended that for us– and Bill Giovannetti’s beautiful look at grace empowered me to look to Him– instead of to a hopeless world– for the grace I so desperately need. Every person who has ever felt burdened by a legalistic Christian world, by hopelessness or guilt or even by the pain of feeling unforgiven will find hope and healing in Grace Intervention. ~Erin MacPherson, author of The Christian Mama’s Guide series
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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.