Updated: Mar 10, 2020
How are your New Years resolutions going? It is March now, and based on my experiences with New Years resolutions, most people have probably given up by now. Whether you have decided to sin less, pray more, study more, or just attend services more, thousands of people around the globe decided that 2020 is the year to make it happen. At some point in our lives, all of us have probably made a spiritual New Years resolution. According to personal experience with religious New Years resolutions, failure can result in an unhealthy and hopeless attitude. If you are also a victim of this hopeless attitude, I want to share a Biblical principle that helped me on the road to better reaching my spiritual resolutions. Please don’t misunderstand me, I am far from perfect, but I feel like this principle is helping me have the right perspective.
If you are like me, your experience with spiritual New Years resolutions are this: set a goal in an area that they struggle in, either addiction, or a lack of something good like praying daily. On January 1st you start strong, but within a few days, life happens, temptation happens, Satan works. When you fall to temptation just one time, or miss just one day, it’s over. The resolution is a failure. Because the motivation for setting the goal was the calendar hitting January 1st, when the calendar passes January 1st and the resolution failed, the motivation is gone. When the motivation to the goal is gone, the steps to reaching the goal are never taken. When the steps to reaching the goal are never taken, the hopeless attitude sets in. The main problem with New Years resolutions for spiritual goals is that resolutions are a pass/ fail system. Christianity is not a pass fail system. Christianity is a “you failed but Jesus passed you anyway system.”
The principle we need to remember in reaching our spiritual goals is that as long as we are in Him, Jesus already passed us! Ephesians 2:5 says “even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-by grace you have been saved.” This verse tells us that we failed, but Jesus passed us anyway. This can help us in reaching our spiritual goals because we do not have to be weighed down with the burden of stumbling one time or missing a day of prayer or study. Our concern should not be trying to be flawless, our concern should be being “In Christ.” We still have the responsibility of being in a faithful relationship with the Lord, however when we stumble, we do not have to have the hopeless attitude. We have failed, but Jesus passed us anyway.
- Nate Miller