Sermon Illustrations

New Year’s Resolutions

The Christmas celebrations are over. Now comes that time of the year when many people make New Year’s resolutions. With fixed determination they try to achieve what they have announced at some party. However, they seldom keep those New Year’s resolutions. Why not?

There are three powerful enemies that often work together to keep us from fulfilling those resolutions: 1.) The flesh, or better yet, the sinful nature. Paul specifically describes its power, “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” We inherited this sinful nature from Adam and Eve and it controls all unbelievers; 2.) The world, or this world’s system, has a lot to draw us away from what is good and right—that is to worship God with all our lives; 3.) The devil. He is real. He was cast out of heaven for pride and rebellion, and he led other angelic beings to rebel with him. Peter warns us, “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5: 8).

With these three adversaries constantly opposing us, it is easy to understand how most people fail to achieve or accomplish their resolutions and fulfill commitments.

Jesus warns us that apart from Him we can do nothing good. Instead, people do what is right in their own eyes bringing grief, disappointment and destruction into their own lives and the lives of their families.

The apostle Paul wrote about struggling with sin and how to overcome it. Sin is overcome only by being born-again, allowing God’s Holy Spirit to live in us and surrendering to Him (Rom. 8: 9). Paul described it best when he wrote, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). These words are true for every man, woman and child. A person must have Christ living in them before they can begin to live a righteous life.

The Bible teaches that Jesus is able to sympathize with your weaknesses. He has been tempted in every way, just as you are, yet He was without sin. Jesus is able to help you overcome sin and set you free from the bondage of sin. Jesus said, “Everyone who sins is a slave to sin.” However, He also said, “If the Son sets you free, you are free indeed” (John 8:34,36). Jesus is not only able to save you from hell but save you from your sins in this life as well. When you repent and confess your sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive you of your sins and purify you from all unrighteousness.

Jesus also taught that only a few will enter the narrow gate and walk the narrow road that leads to eternal life. (Matt. 7:14) Those who have chosen the narrow gate and walk on the narrow road are those who have accepted Jesus as personal Savior and Lord. They find themselves becoming more and more like Christ and living victoriously over the sin that desires to destroy them and their relationship with the Lord.

The only New Year’s resolution that can withstand the flesh, the world and the devil, is to resolve to accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Will you be one of the few and receive Him? He is waiting to set you free!

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