While New Year can be busy and noisy, it is a season when our thoughts turn to the passing of time, melancholy regrets and unrealised aspirations mixing in a confusing blend. Perhaps this is where the whole idea of New Year Resolutions comes from. We resolve that things will be different – I am going to be different – what better time to start than a New Year? If the calendar changes, perhaps I can change too.
How long does it last?
You do not have to go through many New Years to discover that being a better person is harder than it sounds. Some of us have discovered that it’s beyond us to change behaviour, habits and life rhythms, never mind our character and deeper life issues. In fact, living a healthier lifestyle, being more active, reading more and other tweaks to our lives generally fizzle out as January moves into February – with that direct debit for the gym the only reminder of a New Year resolution.
Being a better person is a big ask, even for a few weeks. Why is it so hard to upgrade and so easy to degrade my life?
The Bible has a lot to say about this seemingly impossible quest for “being better” or “being good”. In fact, the Bible tells us that this is an impossible ambition due to the sin in our hearts. That is probably not what you wanted to read but does explain why being better is so hard. It might help to know that Jesus said, “No one is good, but One, that is, God” (Mark 10:18).
Are you are interested in being better, doing better this year?
When you read the Bible you discover that God doesn’t make marginal adjustments when we bring Him into our lives. God radically transforms us into a different, not better, person. The transformation is so radical the Bible calls it being “born again”.
When you realise that you are never going to be good enough . . . change enough . . . be sufficiently better . . . to satisfy yourself, never mind God, that is the time to stop looking to yourself and start looking to God. The great news is that God has been looking at you for a long time. It has been a look of love and grace and finds its full expression in the giving of His Son, Jesus, to death on a cross. As a result of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God is able to do what we can never do.
Regrets, guilt, fear, disappointment, anxiety, confusion – the list could go on for some time. Where will you look? What about the big issues of your life? Will you look to yourself and make more resolutions this New Year? Trying again to be better, to do better?
Perhaps a couple of years ago you would not have read an article like this, on a website like this, but here you are. Will you give serious thought to the simple, profound message to you from the Bible?
“Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” (Isaiah 55:6-7)
Photo credit: Tim Mossholder