What would you say if I told you that my New Year's Resolution for 2009 is to stop sinning? That's right: from this moment forward, I resolve to never sin again. What's so funny? You think I can't do it? Okay, go ahead and laugh, but this time I mean it. This time, I am really, really motivated!
Naturally, I have no such New Year's Resolution. The idea that I can stop sinning because I've decided I'm just not going to do it any more is silly. It's just as silly for me to isolate a specific sin and make that my New Year's Resolution: I'm going to stop coveting. I'm going to stop lusting. I'm going to start putting God above all else. How ridiculous! The reason this is silly is because it cannot be done. We cannot simply decide to stop sinning. Sin is a trap that ensnares us. If we could stop sinning on our own, there would be no need for a Savior.
Which brings me to this question. Why do we so often fail to keep our usual New Year's Resolutions? Why is it so hard to lose weight, stop smoking, or save money? Could it be that many, if not all New Year's Resolutions are also based on the idea that we can stop sinning?
Chances are, we are engaging in whatever behavior it is we are trying to stop in an effort to satisfy a need that only God can fulfill.I believe that nine times out of ten, sin is the reason we cannot keep our New Year's Resolutions. Chances are, we are engaging in whatever behavior it is we are trying to stop in an effort to satisfy a need that only God can fulfill. And until we learn to replace whatever that "thing" is with God, we will never succeed at changing our ways. Thus, we are no more victorious over weight, cigarettes, and money than we are over lust, coveteousness, and idolatry.
This is an unusual concept for many of us, but this month, we hope to examine some of these undesirable behaviors to see if we can bring about true change the Biblical way: through repentance. I cannot adequately coach anyone in a mere blog posting here and there, but this month I hope to share with you some resources that will knock your socks off as you finally discover how to:
Lose the weight
Be a better steward of your finances
Read your Bible in a year
Improve your relationships
Consider what your New Year's Resolutions are for 2009, write them down, and ask God to show you why this particular area is a struggle for you. Remember, it's not what goes into a man that defiles him - it's what comes out of his heart! Ask the Lord to reveal the heart issue that causes you to remain ensnared to whatever area in which you can't seem to be victorious. Once you see the sin patterns that surround that issue, ask God to give you the power to resist temptation and flee from sin. This is how we achieve lasting change. We go to the source of change - the cross of Christ. We do not change simply because the calendar has fallen on a particular date in January.
I realize it's easier said than done. For this reason, we're going to begin this process with an awesome Bible study that will address every woman's number one New Year's Resolution: weight loss. This Bible study will not only free you from your sinful eating habits and help you lose weight, it will teach you to get closer to God in a way that you never imagined.
So stay tuned, and get ready to toss out your New Year's Resolutions once and for all. A date on a calendar may motivate you for a few weeks, but the cross of Christ is going to change you forever . . .