Do you make New Year’s resolutions? I think the closest I’ve ever REALLY come to making them was the ONE year I prayerfully chose a word and theme to focus on during the year and to see how God would lead. The year (which I now can’t remember) was off to a great start when my dear friend unsuspectingly gifted me with a mug that had “my word” inscribed on it. It was a beautiful mug with raised letters spelling “hope.” I loved the mug and thought it confirming that my morning musings would be directed to this theme and I was excited to see how the Holy Spirit would counsel me regarding my hopeful reflections.
The thing is, while hope is a wonderful aspect of our Christian walk and abiding, the Lord did not need me to choose this as a theme in order to reveal His hope to me afresh or for me to define what He would choose to speak to me about. Hope remains a beautiful word to me, not because of that year (and in spite of the fact that I broke said mug), but because it is what our faith is built upon, being born again to this living hope through Jesus’ resurrection (Hebrews 11:1, 1 Peter 1:3).
Years ago, one of my young kids, mistakenly talked about making New Year’s revolutions which has made me stop and think every year about revolutions when I should be thinking about resolutions. The interesting thing is that I like the idea of revolutions over resolutions.
Resolutions seem so unattainable to me; requiring planning, intention, commitment and promises on my part. I know how weak and inconsistent and unsettled I can be – not a picture of resolve. I vacillate far too much when making a decision or solving a problem.
Resolutions are something better left to an unchanging God, who can omnisciently and omnipotently make covenant resolutions to His people. The outcome is based on His faithfulness and not mine, on His strength and absoluteness rather than my weakness and wavering.
Revolutions, however, seem more about dramatic and wide reaching changes; transformation and restructuring – maybe an uprising against my very self. Hmm, that sounds like something God would like to do in me and what He has already done in sending Christ here to our world to shake up or shake down or maybe both, our whole understanding of the ways of religion.
While Jesus came to fulfill the law, He was revolutionary in His interpretation and application of it, piercing right into the heart attitudes and perspectives of the current religious status quo. In His sermon on the mount (Matthew 5, 6, 7), Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said… but I say to you…” He is describing His Father’s heart in the law, and showing us how citizens of His kingdom behave and this not to be of our own strength, power and wisdom, but of His, given by the Holy Spirit when He comes. This revolutionary plan, eternally purposed and realized in Christ (Ephesians 3:11) to overthrow the current rulers of self, world and enemy (Ephesians 6:12); all that sets itself against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). It’s a battle waged with divine weapons issued by God Himself.
To me, the idea of New Year’s revolutions is appealing because, ultimately, the outcome is not dependent upon me – my skill or effort, but is one that has already been secured in Christ’s victory over sin and death in the cross and resurrection and will be fully realized at His second advent. I need not resolve to do anything but respond to Christ. He has already done the work.