On Becoming New
Our American society has an obsession with new beginnings and second chances. This is especially apparent around the new year when we see a plethora of fresh new diets, crisp new workout plans, and great intentions on going into a new year correctly. As most of us know, the good intentions quickly fade and we fall back into our normal patterns of behavior. I believe the inherent desire we all have to start fresh is actually God-given. Becoming new and having an endless supply of do-overs is at the heart of the gospel. Therefore it makes sense that humans are drawn to the idea that everything they have been doing can somehow be wiped away and they can start completely over. This is so extremely satisfying for us. Why, then, does the passion to change fade so quickly?
I think in order to understand why our resolutions don’t last we need to switch over to understanding the gospel and true heart change. Have you ever made goals for yourself like “I’m going to read the bible in a year” or “I’m really going to work on my cursing” only to find yourself in a downswing of failure to measure up/follow through with those goals? Following Christ does not look like setting goals for yourself and striving to accomplish them. So many of us get caught up in this mindset of “I’ll be a better Christian.” What does being a “better” Christian even mean? We have built altars upon bible reading and behaving like a Christian all while we are running from true heart change. Following Christ is a full-hearted surrenderance to Him. Then and only then will your heart and your desires change.
So what does surrendering look like? Good question. I have been wrestling with this question for the past 6 months and all I know is that it is not another item to check off my to-do list. In my quest to find true surrenderance I made it another chore. Surrenderance can only come when we reach the end of ourself (the god margin as I have heard it called). It comes when we actually understand that no amount of striving, goal-setting, or self-control will be enough. This is the Gospel! When we finally come to a point of understanding that we cannot do it on our own. There is no more pressure or constant striving. Breathe easy my friends because his yoke is easy and his burden is light (Matthew 11:30).
Resolutions. Am I bashing the idea of self-improvement? Absolutely not. I am a person who constantly tries to improve myself, but I also have experienced how extremely tiring this can be. “I’m going to read my bible every day this month.” Only to feel like a complete and utter failure when I only read it 2 days a week. Then my focus is on MY failure and not on GOD’S power. So what’s the answer? Surrenderance. Allowing ourselves to get to a place of admitting that without God we will continually fail. I would like to lose 10 pounds. However, no amount of me writing beautifully planned out workout regimes will actually get me there. I will get there when my heart changes and I begin to understand how important health is for my current and also my future (a heart change). I would like to become more disciplined in my bible reading. When I surrender and allow God to change my desires and priorities, this will happen. See how it’s no longer work or dependent on me? Take heart because God is powerful and he’s waiting to show us and enter this new year right beside us.
Submitted by Haley Goodfellow, LCC Church Member