You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” - Galatians 5:13-14
Christmas has come and gone and the time spent with our families and friends celebrating the birth of Jesus is over for now. We look to a new year filled with opportunity. The one problem with a new year and a new start is the making and breaking of New Year's Resolutions.
(I sincerely hope your resolutions are going better than mine are)
Over the holidays, I heard a wonderful message while visiting family. After announcing my new year's resolutions to my family the night before, we found ourselves at church on New Year's Eve. Filling up two rows of church, our family settled in to hear the message. The pastor began by addressing New Year's resolutions. I could feel the eyes of my family looking at me and smiling as I had boldly stated my ambitious goals just hours earlier. The pastor continued to preach a 30 minute message that completely dismantled my hopes and dreams for the new year in this short time.
I won't share the entire message, but I do want to share the main point. The pastor was not being mean. He didn't have an agenda or any problem with people trying to better themselves. He did however have a significant point in regards to the intentions and motivations of the resolutions themselves.
My new year's resolutions mostly revolved around the following statement.
"I'm going to live healthier."
Now there are a lot of things that can fall under this resolution, but the main goals are obvious. I want to eat healthier and I want to work-out more. These don't seem like a bad idea to most people, however with the wrong motivations and intentions they are certain to fail.
Towards the end of the sermon the point became very clear. The pastor shared his resolution.
"In 2018, I want the person of Jesus to be alive in me more than in 2017."
He concluded his sermon with how this statement can be used as a filter for our own resolutions. He began with mine.
I'M GOING TO LIVE HEALTHIER so that I have as much energy as possible to serve God as long as possible.
The simplicity of this statement made me see how selfish my initial resolutions had become. I want to be healthier. I want to look better. I want to feel better. I want to fit into different clothes. I want others to notice my success. I know that these thoughts will continue, but at least I know where I can direct them.
I still want to live healthier, but I will do so with this new direction in mind. I will recognize my selfishness (sin) and live in a way that serves God's people.
How do your goals and resolutions change when you filter them through Jesus?