Summary: We often make New Year’s resolutions that just "fine-tune" what we already are, but what if God wants to make us completely different, completely new?
If you look up the word “resolution” in the dictionary, it says “1. A state or quality of being resolute, 2. Firm determination. 3. A course of action determined or decided on. And 4. Resolving to do something.
Now, this is the time of year when many of us will make those famous New Year’s resolutions. And, when we make our New Year’s resolutions, we usually start out…firmly determined, we usually start out…resolutely on this new course of action. “This IS the year, I’ll lose those 20 lbs.” “This IS the year, I’ll stop smoking.” “This IS the year I’ll do better in school.”
This is the year I’ll be a better parent, a better grandparent, a better friend, a better classmate, etc." "This IS the year, I won’t fall asleep while Pastor Mark preaches!”
And we usually start out so well, we usually make it through January with our resolutions still intact, but
then February comes…the newness of the resolution fades, and the reality begins to sink in. “This is hard! What I’ve resolved to do is hard.” It doesn’t take long for us to discover, or rediscover, a simple truth: “The words that are the hardest to live by are the easiest to speak!"
More than Improvement
We often make resolutions and break them. Words ARE easy to speak AND hard to live by. And really most of our resolutions are misplaced anyway. They are only designed to make us “slightly better.” They are only designed to take what we already are and fine-tune it, remodel it…just a little bit. "I resolve to lose 20 lbs, so I can look a little slimmer." "I resolve to stop smoking, so I could be a little healthier." "I resolve to control my temper, so I can be a little nicer."
Now, don’t get me wrong…these resolutions are okay, but are these the resolutions GOD would have us make? Is His goal for us, that by this time next year, we would be just “slightly improved?” Is His goal for us, that by this time next year, we would be the same old us just fine-tuned with the rough edges smoothed out. No, that is not what God wants. He’s out to do something entirely different. Something far beyond minor renovations.
Scripture: 2 Cor 5:17:
God wants to make us completely new. Not just a slightly better version of what we are already. London businessman Lindsay Clegg told the story of a warehouse property he was selling. The building had been empty for months and needed repairs. andals had damaged the doors, smashed the windows, and strewn trash around the interior. As he showed a prospective buyer the property, Clegg took pains to say that he would replace the broken windows, bring in a crew to correct any structural damage, and clean out the garbage.
But the buyer said, "Forget about the repairs. When I buy this place, I’m going to build something completely different. I don’t want the building; I want the site." Now, compared with the renovation God has in mind, our efforts to improve our own lives are as trivial as sweeping a warehouse slated for the wrecking ball. When we become God’s, the old life is over. He makes all things new. All God wants is the site and the permission to build.
If we are going to “act resolutely,” if we are going to be firmly determined, if we are going to set a course of action, then we should do it for something that will make great and lasting changes. Why waste time and energy on slight improvements, when we can invest in becoming brand new? God’s not interested in throwing a coat of paint on us. He’s not interested in doing a little remodeling. Paint fades and chips, remodels become outdated over time. God is looking to do a whole new thing. We need simply resolve to give Him permission to tear down and rebuild. God is looking to work wonders in us and through us. We need simply to resolve to put ourselves in His hands and let Him go to work.
What to do
Now, if you were to visit the Johnson City PM Church and grab hold of any one of my 4th Grade Sunday School students and ask them, “What are the 4 ways we learn to do what God wants us to do?” They should be able to tell you. And this morning, we will look at three of them…if you want to know the 4th…you’ll have to go to Johnson City! Resolving to do these 3 things will put us in a place where God can meet with, and speak with,us. Resolving to do these 3 things will put us in a place where God can begin to rebuild us…making us into something new and wonderful.