Refusing to Make Resolutions

640px-postcardnewyearsresolutionsoapbubbles1909It’s New Years Day—about 1:00 a.m. to be exact, and I’m being tempted to make resolutions. I rarely succeed with New Year’s resolutions no matter how determined I feel on January first. For years I lived by resolutions and determination with pride or despair quickly following when I succeeded or failed. However, I’ve rarely experienced change on January first. Usually it comes unexpectedly during the year because I’m traveling down the road in the right direction.

The New Year is always appealing because it feels like an Extreme Makeover is coming; you have a new slate. But for me, new beginnings take place many times a day every day of the year as I change my mind about something and seek God to help me—whether it is diet or attitude, exercise or habits. For me, new beginnings are for January 2nd, when I mess up and January 3rd when I mess up big time. Each time I get a new slate.

When I go to Christ in repentance for having blown it, I also go to fill my cup of forgiveness, hope, and grace. It’s a well-worn path filled with promises like Psalm 62:1-2 (NSAB), My soul waits in silence for God only; from Him is my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.

But too often our view of God hinders us from running to the source of daily hope. I’ve had a picture of God (who looks a whole lot like my mother) with his clinched fists on his hips fussing at me. My new and more biblical view of God is one in which He invites me to go for a walk with Him, and there he loves me, blesses me, and reminds me that my sins are forgiven because Christ came and died. There He tells me that as I continue to walk with Him, He will gradually change me. It’s more like learning the habits of a good friend than a one-day extreme makeover.

As I walk with my friend in silence, discovering His patience, kindness, and mercy, I become like Him—not completely—that’s for another day, but a wee bit, with lapses of failure doused with extra grace. It’s not a cheap grace, because grace was very costly to God, but it is a dependent grace—and God loves for us to be dependent on Him, it’s to His glory when we are.

I believe it was Eugene Peterson who said, “The Christian life is a long walk in the same direction.” So, if there’s something to resolve, it is to wait upon Him and walk beside Him listening to the voice of love. Then if I detour, to come back quickly and receive his grace freely.

Rats, I went and made a resolution anyway.

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. (II Corinthians 3:18 NASB)

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6 Responses to Refusing to Make Resolutions

  1. Linda, the message and the style of writing here are both so beautiful! This message of honesty, reality and unimagined grace….well, I can’t imagine starting my year with any better thought! Thank you!!!

    • artechoes says:

      Thanks, Noel. I can’t wait until the day when you have time and energy to write more. You have such wonderfully deep and inspiring thoughts. Appreciate the encouragement.

  2. Laurie Flayhart says:

    Beautiful, redemptive blog articulated so well for my heart to hear and resonate with! Good riddance to half hearted resolutions made from fear and pride!! Btw, Johnathon Edwards had a list of many resolves…we can call them goals! Good to have something to aim towards and for fodder for repentance!

    Laurie

    >

    • artechoes says:

      Amen with fodder for repentance! When you hang out with Jesus for a while (as you know), it’s bound to come. The goals and the desires, often unmet through my weakness, push me toward further reliance. I have steady failure, but somehow, as I rest in Christ more and more, I walk away more fit for the challenge and more willing to dream big dreams in his power. I know you understand this very well. Good words, Laurie. May we abide yet more and more.

  3. papapound says:

    There certainly is no formula for the Christian life but we can resolve something and frequently if the Lord leads. Enjoyed have you all last night. Keep praying, there is still much work to be done.

  4. artechoes says:

    As the Lord leads. We hear Him lead as we wait.

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