We’re about a month into the new year, and I would say my conversations with most of my friends thus far pretty much fall into one of two categories: 1. Crushing it, or 2. Being crushed...
If you’re crushing it this year, I’m honestly really happy for you. We all are. You’ve officially taken 2017 by the proverbial bull horns and managed to reign it in, somehow. It’s awesome, it’s impressive, and by no means do I want to thwart your momentum towards greatness. But, to all my people out there who have already lost sight of their new year’s resolution, lost track, messed up, screwed up, and officially fallen flat on your face, this blog is for YOU.
Below are 3 things to keep in mind that have helped me along the way through thousands of failed attempts, unmet goals, and undesired results despite my best efforts.
1. IT'S WORSE THAN YOU THINK
Your sin is actually worse than you think it is. I know this sounds harsh, but it’s the truth, and the truth sometimes hurts. Jesus didn’t die on the cross because you didn’t uphold your own new years resolutions. He died for you because you are utterly helpless to accomplish anything of eternal significance in your own strength. Jeremiah 17:9 says, "The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” In other words, your heart has a proclivity not only towards decline, but death itself. 1 John 3:15 says, “Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer.” Jesus Himself says in Matthew 5:28 “Anyone who looks at another lustfully has already committed adultery with him/her in his/her heart.” So theologically you not only failed to eat healthier, be a better person, refrain from pornography, spend less money, and/or start that new project, but you managed to become a murderer, a liar, and a cheat. That's not to hit you while you're down, it's just to say your spiritual condition is actually so much worse than than your un-met home-improvements. The Bible says your heart isn't a merely house undergoing remodel, but a home completely wiped out by natural disaster, devastated and leveled to the ground. Your heart, despite your best self-help efforts, is desperately wicked, unimaginatively deceitful, and worse than you could know.
2. BUT, you’re a new creation
The Good News is that in and through Christ Jesus, your life is being made entirely brand new (2 Corinthians 5:17). You're a new creation! The old is gone, and the new has come. No matter what you’ve done or failed to do today or for decades to come - God has wiped your slate clean through Jesus’ own blood. You’re forgiven. You’re made right with God because of His once-and-for-all sacrifice, and unconditional love for you. Romans 8:1 reminds us, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” In other words, even if you are crushing this year, living out the law beautifully, which is in and of itself is debatable and at the very least unlikely (see 1. above), it’s still only in Jesus do we have real victory stepping into 2017 anyways. Plus we know that nothing can separate us from His love. (Romans 8:31) That's a resolution worth holding on to.
3. So keep going!
Don’t give up, don't look back, and don’t listen to that old voice of the enemy! Ever heard this familiar whisper in your head, “Oooh, you’ve screwed up so bad this time - I don’t think God can use you anymore..” or “Wow, amazing, you’re doing so well - you don't need any help anymore - you got this!”? Well, I have too, and I'm telling you, that voice only leads towards more self-destruction. The voice of Truth; the voice of God says, "Keep going! Keep running! When you fall, I'll pick you back up!" If by chance you’re still reading this than that means this next part is specifically for YOU for 2017: Hear the voice of the Holy Spirit speak to you through the real and raw confession of the Apostle Paul, Philippians 3:12-14 “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
So if the fireworks have faded, and you feel like you’re already being crushed by 2017, just remember:
- It's worse than you think (Jer 17:9)
- But cheer up, you're a new creation (2 Cor 5:17)
- KEEP GOING! (Phil 3:12-14)
And listen to my friend, Ignacio