Summary: Jesus calls us to make cross-carrying commitments. These are not resolutions that can be broken and forgotten in a matter of days. When a person picks up a cross, it’s a one-way trip. No one expects to come back.
I HATE NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS
For nearly a decade, I said, “Next January, I will start eating right and exercising.” You can tell what happened with my resolutions. NOTHING. I did not start eating healthy foods. I did not start exercising, but that all changed last January 14th. I had a serious wake up call. Six days in the hospital led me to make a commitment. I will eat right and exercise now. The frustrating thing is that I haven’t lost a lot of weight. BTW, this little beard is a daily reminder of my commitment. I will keep on eating right and exercising to stay out of the hospital.
HOW MANY OF YOU HATE NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS TOO?
Some of you are thinking, “Too late, I already forgot my resolutions. If you expected to help me keep my resolutions you should have talked about them last week.”
Others know exactly what I mean. You’ve tried to kick a bad habit only to go crawling back a couple of days later. You’ve joined a gym and gone once or twice. You’ve thrown out the junk food or cigarettes and then dug them out of the trash.
Resolutions are powerless to change us. Very few of us take them seriously. They are easily and quickly broken.
Resolutions are guilt-driven. We make them because we know we should or because someone else tells we ought to make them. We think we need to make a certain change – that we must do this or we will regret it.
Resolutions are guilt-ridden too. They fail to help us and we feel like failures. We say, “If only I had more willpower…. If only I could hang on a few more days….” Resolutions tear us down and discourage us. They make us want to give up all hope of ever changing.
I think Jesus prefers commitments to resolutions.
Listen to three scenes from His live.
As they were walking along someone said to Jesus, "I will follow you no matter where you go." But Jesus replied, "Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but I, the Son of Man, have no home of my own, not even a place to lay my head."
He said to another person, "Come, be my disciple." The man agreed, but he said, "Lord, first let me return home and bury my father." Jesus replied, "Let those who are spiritually dead care for their own dead. Your duty is to go and preach the coming of the Kingdom of God."
Another said, "Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family." But Jesus told him, "Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God." (Luke 9:57-62 NLT)
That may sound harsh but look at how Jesus lived.
Once when Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, they couldn’t get to him because of the crowds. Someone told Jesus, "Your mother and your brothers are outside, and they want to see you." Jesus replied, "My mother and my brothers are all those who hear the message of God and obey it." (Luke 8:19-21 NLT)
Jesus went even further in His call to commitment.
He said to the crowd, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life. And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose or forfeit your own soul in the process?" (Luke 9:23-25 NLT)
Jesus lived this out in His life.
As the time drew near for his return to heaven, he moved steadily onward toward Jerusalem with an iron will. (Luke 9:51 TLB) When he arrived at Jerusalem, first the crowds cheered for him. Then they chanted, “Crucify.” So, he died on the cross.
Jesus calls us to make cross carrying commitments. These are not resolutions that can be broken and forgotten in a matter of days. When a person picks up a cross, it’s a one-way trip. No one expects to come back.
IT’S TIME FOR NO RESOLUTIONS JUST COMMITMENTS
How would you finish this sentence? “God would be most pleased by my changing….”
When will you start? What is the first thing you need to do? Pray? Ask a friend to check on your progress? Just remember this key principle, “Start by starting.” (Meryl Streep, Reader’s Digest, January 2009)
(Habit Track, Leadership Strategetics by Keith Drury) This is a picture of how we can establish habits of obedience. At some non-tempting place and time you make a decision of your will and reach out in faith to receive Jesus’ help.