Summary: Resolve a new life, not just a new year.
Not Just a New Year
Here we are at New Year’s again. We have just celebrated Christmas with all of its parties and celebrations. And most of us have overindulged in food and spending, not to mention other areas. This is the time of the year we go on a guilt trip. We haven’t been too good lately, so it is time to make amends. It is time for that New Year’s resolution. After we have one more fling at the New Year’s parties, we will straighten ourselves out. All too often, tomorrow never comes or we cave into our indulgences after a short stay. That diet works to remove five of the ten pounds that we gained at Christmas, So, it’s time to celebrate. Let’s get a pizza!
Soon, for Christians, the season of Lent comes upon us. It’s time to give up something for forty days to remember the Lord’s fast of forty days in the wilderness. Hmm—what do I give up? I know! I’ll give up tuna and peanut butter like I do every year. These are vows I certainly can keep, seeing that I don’t like either. To prepare for Lent there is the Shrove Tuesday pancake supper sponsored by the choir as a fundraiser. I know I’m diabetic, but just one indulgence won’t hurt. After all, I have all of Lent to straighten things out.
The television ads all stroke us with the illusion of free will. We are in control of our lives. We can freely choose. But why is it so much easier to choose to indulge rather than abstain? Is it really a choice, or are we slaves to our passions? I don’t know what you tell others you believe, but deep down in your heart, do you have to admit that you really don’t have it all together? Is there a great gulf fixed between your public persona and your assessment of yourself when no one is around. Does your Facebook profile show you as an enthusiastic go getter who has it all together when your private life is best summed up in Paul’s words in Romans 7 “O wretched person that I am”?
But don’t worry. The television has an answer for you. Alongside the Nutri-System and Jenny Craig ads are the ads of the psychologists. Then there is always Dr. Phil and Oprah. Surely they can steady the wreck we have made of our lives. But after we have tried out the latest fads, we still feel empty and broken. Is there any hope for us wretches?
I have good news to bring. There is help. There is someone who can fix the plague of our heart. It isn’t the advice of someone who sells his plan to get your life together, someone who doesn’t have it together himself. Just look at the lives of Hollywood idols. Do they have it together? The most of them are just as if not more desperate than the rest of us. How could they have any answers? They have wealth, influence, power, and the ability to indulge their every fantasy. They are hunted down by their own fans and followers. They seem to alternate between Hollywood and rehab. No, if you are looking for help from the world, you are looking for healing in all the wrong places.