Here we are facing the final days of 2020. Many look forward to disposing of the past year’s calendar and replacing it with one they hope will bring better things.
We tend to develop a “greener grass” mentality every year in late December. Inevitably, we look back at the past year, count our blessings, mourn our losses, and measure our mistakes. When we sum it all up, we look forward with anticipation to what just has to be greener grass on the other side of midnight on December 31st.
This year, the hope for a better year next year seems to be more pronounced than usual. 2020 presented a plethora of negative news from the COVID pandemic to contested elections. These issues are above our proverbial pay grade, so we hope, and we pray.
The Futility of New Year’s Resolutions
We view the new year as a venue in which we can “do better” on a personal level. We know that we have let people down, disappointed them, and not been all that we could or should have been.
It’s a perfect time to make resolutions for self-improvement in the year ahead.
But, we all know what happens with New Year’s resolutions. They seldom result in the permanent behavior modifications we originally hoped they would.
The month of January lasts longer than most people’s resolutions.
The Power of Transformation
I can think of nothing more meaningful on this matter than the reflections of A.W. Tozer from his sermon, “Spiritual Balance.”
“It is a thin and rather smooth coin of common knowledge that the human race has lost its symmetry and tends to be lopsided in almost everything it is and does.
Religious philosophers have recognized this asymmetry and have sought to correct it by preaching in one form or another the doctrine of the “golden mean.”
Confucius taught the “middle way”; Buddha would have his followers avoid both asceticism and bodily ease; Aristotle believed that the virtuous life is the one perfectly balanced between excess and defect.
Christianity, being in full accord with all the facts of existence, takes into account this moral imbalance in human life, and the remedy it offers is not a new philosophy but a new life.
The ideal to which the Christian aspires is not to walk in the perfect way but to be transformed by the renewing of his mind and conformed to the likeness of Christ.
The regenerate man often has a more difficult time of it than the unregenerate, for he is not one man but two. He feels within him a power that tends toward holiness and God, while at the same time, he is still a child of Adam’s flesh and a son of the red clay. This moral dualism is to him a source of distress and struggle wholly unknown to the once-born man.”
The Apostle Paul begs professing believers to “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what [is] that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” [Rom 12:2 NKJV]
We are powerless to resolve our way to a better life. Only the Lord can do that for us when we trust in the finished work of Christ, come to the Father through Him, and “present our bodies a living sacrifice acceptable unto God.”
Rendering ourselves helpless and entrusting our lives, now and for all eternity, to Him, allows Him the freedom to transform us until we are fully conformed to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. (See Romans 8:29)
The world will suggest that you make at least one resolution as we enter 2021.
Do not do what you already know never works.
Allow the Lord to transform your life and conform you through whatever means He deems best into the image of His Son.
You can change the calendar, but only God can change you for the better.
Sources: A.W. Tozer Devotional, Spiritual Balance