Sunday, January 6, 2013

The #JesusResolution for 2013

"One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in his temple." - Psalm 27:4

It's a good tradition to make resolutions when a new year arrives. We look at this fresh start, and desire to have the future be better than the past.

However, it's tempting to make these resolutions very me-focused, saying things like: "I'm gonna get better at ____, I'm going to try harder at ____, I'm never going to do _____ again. I wanna read more Bible, I wanna be more healthy, I wanna serve others more." These are all good things, and making resolutions about ourselves makes sense (we're not making resolutions for OTHER people, right?). The problem isn't so much DESIRING these changes; rather, the problem is when we try to DO these changes. It's not going to work to just create ANOTHER list of rules and expectations and "try-harders"... that's exhausting! Did it work in 2012? See, we can't BE the solution, because most of the time, WE are the problem. As Paul David Tripp said in a recent tweet, we are in need of rescue from ourselves.

Here's the challenge: Get the focus off of yourself, and take "The Jesus Resolution for 2013":
  • Jesus is the Goal: The goal of "become a better you" sounds attractive to our culture's ears, but it's at best a low-bar selfish goal, and at worst an assault against the glory of God in a similar way that Adam and Eve were duped. Rather, set your goal to line up with the goal of God: glorifying Jesus. Others have done the hard work of arguing from Scripture that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. So what would it look like to become more satisfied, delighted, and ravished in JESUS in 2013? How can you run hard after Him? How can you make much of Him? How will Jesus be the Goal in 2013?
  • Jesus is the Power: Far too often we believe the power to change rests in ourselves. But God repeatedly says in Scripture that we can't do anything apart from Him. That's the whole point of the Cross! You CAN'T do it, and yet Jesus has complete DONE all of it. So now, His Holy Spirit is in you, making war against the flesh (Galatians 5:16-26) and causing you to grow (Philippians 2:12-13). So don't look at yourself for encouragement, look to HIM and His cross! As you do this, you will be radically refreshed and set free. The reality is that you can't do it, but He already has. Rest in his finished work. Be encouraged by it. Let it motivate you and speak comfort to you. Jesus is the power that you need for real change. How will Jesus be the Power in 2013?
  • Jesus is the Method: After Jesus sets us free through the Cross, He provides rich wisdom and insight in His Word for methods to fight against our sin. For instance, in Luke 4 Jesus responds with Scripture to Satan's temptations. Consider also how you can satisfy your desires with superior satisfaction in Jesus, rather than believing the lie of your favorite sins. Consider asking some trusted brother or sisters for valuable resources for your fight like God-exalting, gospel-centered books, articles, or websites. How can Jesus and His Word be at the center of your strategies? How will Jesus be the Method in 2013? 
What ideas do you have? What is your #JesusResolution for 2013? Share your comments on Facebook, Google+, or reply on Twitter. May God bless your new year, and give you joy in His glorified Son!

Resolved for Jesus,
The Relentless Fight

PS: Have you ever considered how New Year's Resolutions point to our longing for the newness and perfection of heaven? For insight into this, read this post from the blog Escaping Escapism.