I considered not making any New Year’s resolutions this year. After all, it seems as through I rarely keep them. It felt a bit dishonest to resolve to do something I might not actually do.
The sin I’ve clung to over the years – that I’ve often run back to when I've been overwhelmed or stressed out or needed comfort – and the one about which I’ve made many failed resolutions– is gluttony. Instead of running to my Father who loves me, I run to food. I stop pursuing physical health. I work more. I sleep less. I don’t exercise. And I eat whatever I want. And guess what? Like all sin, I end up weaker, more broken, and feeling worse than I did to begin with. There have been seasons in which the pattern has been broken and God has graciously provided freedom from it, and often, when I think I’ve overcome it, I've become apathetic or overconfident and fallen right back into it.
You know what’s refreshing though?
This is a struggle as old as the fall of man.
We’ll wrap up Nehemiah this Sunday, and you know how Nehemiah ends? In Nehemiah 12, the people of God dedicate the wall. They’ve accomplished what they set out to accomplish! They give great thanks to God, celebrate what has been done, and they make plans for continued obedience. But ten years later, they’re in full-fledged rebellion. They’re sinning like there’s no tomorrow, and they’re doing things that run contrary to the reasons they built the wall in the first place. They made resolutions. And then they broke them.
From Nehemiah, The Bridge is heading to Hebrews, but something has changed between Nehemiah and Hebrews. Rather, someone has changed the game. And Hebrews begins with an announcement of the One who provides freedom from the sin that plagues mankind.
Although I have broken resolution after resolution, and although the people of God broke their vows time and time again, God has been faithful. We’ll read in Hebrews about how He never gave up on His people. He doesn’t give up on you, and He doesn’t give up on me. Instead He has offered us the most precious gift in existence: through the death and resurrection of Jesus, He offered us Himself.
This is why we continue to make resolutions.
This is why in 2018, I’m resolving to walk in obedience when it comes to my health. I’m not giving up on resolutions. Because at the root of why I choose to go through a fast food drive-thru when I’m not hungry, or scroll through Instagram when I should close my eyes and get some sleep is a need for comfort in things that can’t bring me comfort. My heart is worshipping and seeking satisfaction elsewhere that only God Himself through Jesus can bring. He alone offers what my soul craves, and by the power of His Spirit and in the community of His church, this year I desire to rest so deeply in His love that it moves me toward fuller obedience for my good and His glory.
Whatever your resolution is this year – or whatever that thing is that you just haven’t been able to kick – know this: your willpower won’t suffice. But His power is sufficient for you and for me. He has placed people around you to lift your arms when you get tired. He's given you His Spirit to supernaturally equip you to do things you could never do on your own. He didn’t give up on His people in Nehemiah, and He hasn’t given up on you. Don’t give up on yourself.
May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ. – 2 Thessalonians 3:5
Happy New Year!