Have you made a New Year’s resolution again this year? Are you resolving to lose weight…again? Are you resolving to be faithful to your spouse…again? Are you resolving to say “no” to your addiction to meth, alcohol, nicotine, prescription drugs, porn, sports…again? Are you resolving to be a better boss, student, father, mother, son, daughter…again this year? Is that your New Year’s resolution…again?
Before you get discouraged, depressed, or disgusted with this column, stop and think. A resolution is when you say “I resolve.” If you could resolve by yourself, after ten New Years, you might be perfect. That’s not going to happen.
There is something a bit arrogant about resolutions. A New Year’s resolution is boasting that it is in your power to do anything. If that were true, you would have resolved your issues a long time ago. The experts say the key to overcome addictions is to recognize you can’t resolve it on your own. That is the first step of a new journey: not resolution, but revolution.
The Christian New Year’s Resolution goes like this, “Do not be conformed to this world, but let God transform you by a renewal of your mind,” (Romans 12:1-2). Not you do it, allow God to do it. I’m amazed at the thousands I’ve met who God has transformed. People who, you can tell, are really changed. They aren’t perfect, they will tell you. They have not reached a destination. They are on a journey down a new path. Christianity works for life change. It is revolutionary.
It takes genuine humility to say you can’t resolve your own issues. Some think that that is a sign of weakness. What a lie! If you are a Christian, you know this. It’s tempting to say, “You can do this, I know you can.” Being a Christian is not being some macho cheerleader, motivating others with hype. Being a Christian is one beggar telling another where to find bread. Not once did Jesus tell His disciples, “Suck it up guys.” Jesus did say, “When you are weak, you are strong.” From a human perspective, it makes no sense. It just works.
If you have to resolve, resolve not to resolve. Let go. Let God. Don’t focus on “I can.” Don’t fixate on “I can’t.” Step out in faith, and say, “I can’t but God can.”
To be transformed is not like working out at the gym, losing weight, getting into shape. Transformation is like a caterpillar emerging as a butterfly. Transformation is what happened to Paul the Apostle. He met Jesus on the road to Damascus. Before Jesus, his name was Saul. His occupation was persecuting Christians. After meeting Jesus, his name was Paul. His work was now a missionary.
The Roman Empire was one of the most decadent societies on Earth. They loved drunken orgies. Their sport was watching gladiators slaughter one another. They cheered, watching Christians fed to lions. They invented crucifixion, the most hideous way to kill a person ever invented. When the plague came, the Romans ran to the hills, leaving their infected relatives to die. The Christians stayed, and cared for the sick. Why? Christians were not afraid to die. They lived by a code of ethics to help those who suffer. They were transformed. In time, the emperor, Constantine, was so impressed, he declared the empire Christian and dumped the false gods. That is transformation. It is a revolution of love, kindness, forgiveness, and restoration. I can’t, but He can.
How are you planning to transform your life this year? We welcome your comments below.
Kent Hunter, founder of Church Doctor Ministries, is known as the Church Doctor. His most recent e-books are The Future Is Now and The J-Dog Journey, available at no cost. Contact him at (800) 626-8515, by email, Twitter, Facebook, or visit www.churchdoctor.org.