After examining their lives this New Years Eve, many people will have made resolutions. Reflection and contemplation on the past can be beneficial to moving ahead. However resolutions without any power behind them can be an act of futility. The Apostle Paul gives some insights into how change is accomplished in our lives.
Several principles that he shares are:
- Outside legalistic rules do not produce life giving power. Many times we start well, with good motives, but these good intentions and desires can become an obligatory law which we place upon ourselves. The constant compulsion of, “I have to do this”, becomes more of a burden than a motivation. The letter of the law, even in its good nature, produces death (2 Cor. 3:6; Gal 3:10). When we work out of obligation or duty, then, even when there are accomplishments, the reward is shallow because we are just doing what we ought to do (1 Cor. 9:17). To avoid legalistic bondage we should not see change as something that we “need to do” or “have to do”, but rather we should see change as something that “I want to do” because …
- At times we know we are supposed to change but we actually don’t want to change. We may like the way we are living our lives. Selfishly focused lives have their own rewards, good and bad, in our own thinking we may want the rewards or the direction we are going and so we don’t want to change, though we know we should change. In these situations we can look to God to give us the desire to want to change (Philippians 2:13).
- The will or desire to change is good, but where do we get the power to change? God also gives us to power to do what is right, to do His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). We need to ask Him for that power and anticipate that He will be faithful to give it, because He too wants us to change!
This New Year may you walk in the power of The Lord Jesus Christ. May you constantly let Him change your desires so you want the change that God has for you and may you constantly draw upon His power to bring that change.