January 1, 2014
II Corinthians 5:17; Revelation 21:5
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
So what is your New Year’s resolution for 2014? The most common one made is to lose weight, followed by “quit smoking!” According to a January 2, 2013 article in U. S. News and World Report, “Americans spend north of $60 billion annually to try to lose pounds, on everything from paying for gym memberships and joining weight-loss programs to drinking diet soda.” A December 31, 2011 article in The New York Times says, “Americans spent about $522 million on over-the-counter nicotine replacement lozenges, gum, skin patches and other anti-smoking products in the 12 months ended Nov. 27….” That’s not including all the ‘quit smoking’ programs out there by a long shot! But sixty and a half billion dollars is a lot of moola!!! Why I would settle for a thousandth of that – 60.5 million!!!
One thing both articles show – and many other studies besides – is that New Year’s resolutions are pretty much dead and buried by the time March 1st rolls around!
I propose something other than New Year’s resolutions – how about a New Year’s REVOLUTION?!! No, I am not talking about the overthrow of the government! I am advocating a personal revolution, a radical change in my lifestyle and yours for 2014! And I think a lot of people out there would like a new and different lifestyle. Too many ane not at all satisfied with their past, their present and the prospect of their future. But how is this to be accomplished?
First of all, let’s look at some of the characteristics that define the lifestyle of far too many people in this old world. It is called “The acts of the sinful nature…” in Galatians 5:19 through 21 (NIV):
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and
debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage,
selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and
Now a single person by themselves will not necessarily manifest all these characteristics. But all humanity taken together certainly will! And these sinful actions do not have to be physically manifested to be present in an individual’s life. Jesus said in Matthew 5:28, “…whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” And hating another person is as if you commit murder – I John 3:15; covetousness is idolatry – Colossians 3:5; greed is thievery – Luke 12:13 through 15; and so on. Who can be content with their life with all this rotten stuff bubbling within and manifesting itself without?
But Paul wrote in II Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” And in Revelation 21:5 Jesus said, “Behold, I make all things new.” When the Lord is invited into a person’s life by that one confessing he or she is a sinner, and asking Jesus to save him or her, the Lord enters that one by His Holy Spirit and takes up permanent residence within. (Revelation 3:20). Jesus then works from the inside out, transforming you into the new creation He intends for you to be.
And what will be the result manifested in your life in an increasing measure as you allow Him to lead you? It is spelled out in the next two verses just after the list of “The acts of the sinful nature…” enumerated in Galatians 5:19 through 21 – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22 and 23 – NIV). Since Revolution is defined by Webster as “a complete change of any kind,” then to go from manifesting “The acts of the sinful nature…”to a life showing forth “…the fruit of the Spirit…” is certainly a Revolution!
But you can’t do it! Only Jesus can! And He will do it in your life only if you give Him ongoing permission to do His work in and through you! It’s called “The Lordship of Jesus Christ.” He wants to be your Lord as much as He wants to be your Savior! And the best and simplest way to accomplish this is to pray “The Most Important Prayer A Christian Can Pray” (See the April 29, 2013 blog). Jesus showed us how in Luke 22:42 when He struggled with the prospect of facing the cross. He prayed, “Father, if it is Your will, remove this cup from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”
“…nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” If we will sincerely and consistently pray this prayer, Jesus Christ will do the rest. And the rest is way beyond any New Year’s resolution. It is Revolution – the radical change in your life and mine that only God can do!