It’s that time again—where we resolve to be better people. We make our lists. We vow to change. It’s the starter conversation for many. So, I will go ahead and ask the question: What’s your New Year’s Resolution? But before you answer, let me caution . . . we generally do it all wrong. 😦 We believe that if we change our habits, our lives will be transformed. But that’s not how it works. The Apostle Paul wrote, “be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” (1) So . . . what does that mean?
First, transformation occurs as we discern God’s will for our lives. Generally speaking, it is the same for all of us: “what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (1) Specifically speaking, God’s will is revealed to us by discovering the grace “given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.” (2) Our lives are transformed as we understand our place in the world. Then, God begins to do his greatest work in us, which is “to be conformed to the image of his Son” (3)—which is directly opposed to our tendency to follow the crowd. Paul warns us about that, too: “Do not be conformed to this world.” (1)
Secondly, transformation occurs when we have a proper understanding of ourselves. Paul instructs us “not to think of [ourselves] more highly than [we] ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” (4) We tend to compare and compete, but Paul challenges us that we should only “outdo one another in showing honor.” (5) Our habits are transformed only as we “think with sober judgment.” If we want real change in our lives, we must begin there.
Okay. I know some of you believe I have missed the point here. 🤪 You are thinking: My resolutions are not that grandiose! I just need to lose ten pounds! I want to get organized! I need to finish that project! I just need a new start in general! How does renewing my mind help with those things? 🤔 So glad you asked!
We often make two mistakes when it comes to resolutions: 1) We believe God is not interested in our silly lists. And 2) We believe we are more resolute than we are! 🤨 And so we exclude God in our efforts. After all, what does losing weight have to do with God? Everything! 😮 All our shortcomings and failures and insecurities and inconsistencies and temptations are connected to how we view ourselves too highly or too lowly and how we discern God’s will for our lives . . . as explained in Romans 12:2-3. 🙄 And, by the way, those resolutions are only attainable through endurance and encouragement, and our God is actually “the God of endurance and encouragement.” (6) So, excluding God from our resolutions is a very bad idea. 🤨
Without God we can do nothing. “For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (7) He works in us and he gives us the will to do the work! Transformation—habit changing, resolution attaining—begins with a renewed mind. So, for those of us resolving to make resolutions this year, let’s not forget to include ”the God of endurance and encouragement” in the process.
Oh, and happy new year! 😁
1) Romans 12:2 2) Ephesians 4:7 3) Romans 8:29 4) Romans 12:3 5) Romans 12:10 6) Romans 15:5 7) Philippians 2:13