Shouldn’t I seize the opportunity to overcome today? Not because it is a new year, but because God called us to take up our cross each day!
As we enter the new year, it is a tradition for many of us to make new year’s resolutions of different kinds. We resolve to put an end to our bad habits – once and for all. Maybe you have not been good about exercising, for example and it is time for a new, active lifestyle. Or perhaps you have eaten a little too many things that you really shouldn’t; that comes to an end as the clock passes midnight at the turn of the new year. On January 1st, you are turning over a new leaf! “I will never again…” or, “From now on I will….” Those sentiments are well known. It is probably not the first time we have said that. Will we manage to keep our promises this time?
Plans and dreams are not enough
New Year’s resolutions are great. We get a little push to accomplish something we have perhaps planned on doing for a long time. But why wait until the New Year to begin? Why did we not do it yesterday or last week? Perhaps we have waited almost a whole year – ever since last January, when we failed after only two weeks. It is one thing that the jogging trip was delayed four months because we couldn’t handle the cold, or that the budget didn’t work out as planned. But what about actual sins; those things that prevent God from doing His transforming work in us? Are we just as slow and procrastinating when it comes to that?
“Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” James 4:14.
We do not in fact know when our last day will be. It is not so important if you manage to lose those 10 pounds or if you were unable to travel the world. What is truly crucial is how well we have put things in order in our relationship to God! Have we taken a serious look at our thought-life and cleansed out all the sin and egotism we see in our lives? What does our conscience say – is there something hidden away?
Did we have plans to make things right? Unfortunately, plans and dreams are not enough on the day when we are to meet our Creator. Then it is not enough to stop being lazy and egocentric starting with the new year – or starting tomorrow. Something needs to happen now – in this moment!
Motivation and hope
It is just as important to continue, not give up, not become lazy. The consequences of slipping after a few weeks are much more serious when it concerns serving God. If you run in this race, it is not enough just to have a good or mostly good conscience. In contrast to a tired and out-of-shape jogger who is trying to get fit after Christmas, a disciple of Jesus has motivation and hope of completely different dimensions.
“But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31.
These people get their strength from God – a strength that is much stronger than muscles, far greater than human dreams and goals. With God’s help, we will reach the goal we have set for ourselves: to partake of the life of Christ. Seize the opportunity for victory today – not because it is a new year but because God called us to take up our cross every day! (Luke 9:23)
“This is the day the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24.