Tomorrow is the big day to start your New Years Resolutions! Have you made any? There are definitely some goals I want to accomplish over the next year but, to be perfectly honest, I started working on those a couple of weeks ago… Is that cheating?
I did, however, make one resolution for 2014:
Resolved, To Rest In The Lord
Most resolutions are made with this mindset – “I need to do _______________ differently over the next year to feel better about myself.” As believers, we may couch it in spiritual terms but most of our resolutions are focused on improving our perception of ourselves or improving how others view us.
Let me be the first to say that I have made numerous resolutions in past years with this mindset. I wanted to lose weight, read more books, write a book, learn to play the guitar, run a half-marathon etc. Yet, when I searched my motives behind these resolutions…well, I quickly realized they were all about me. I was busy, busy, busy trying to measure up to the arbitrary standard I had set for myself.
After some time of intense and purposeful reflection I came to the conclusion that what I needed to do was rest in the Lord. Here are some things that led me to make this resolution:
1. God already sees the best me possible. We should never forget the fact that, as believers, God sees Christ’s righteousness covering us (Romans 3:24-26). To him, we look like Jesus! Sure he knows the depths of our soul, our sin patterns, our faults and our failings but the blood of his Son covers all those things. We may spend our entire lives trying to impress other people while forgetting how God see us…and, in reality; his opinion is the only one that matters. We need to rest in the beautiful truth that we already measure up in God’s eyes!
2. We are all works in progress. The Holy Spirit of God is at work in every believer conforming us to the “image of Christ” (Romans 8:28-29). Too often we try to take on the role of the Holy Spirit – we want to be self-made! Though we play a part in the sanctification process (we can inhibit the Spirit’s work in our lives – quench the Spirit [1 Thessalonians 5:19], grieve the Spirit [Ephesians 4:30], fail to yield to the Spirit’s work [Ephesians 5:18]), the true power for transformation comes from the Spirit of God at work within us. We need to rest in the promise “that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ!”
3. Jesus promised rest and peace for those who followed Him. Several times Jesus told his disciples that they should experience great peace and rest in following him. Paul echoed this truth throughout his letters. Consider these verses:
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.” (John 14:1)
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29)
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Romans 15:13)
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)
The Christian life should not be exhausting and yet, for many this is what they experience. They try to live the Christian life in their own power (a “pick myself up by my own spiritual bootstraps” mentality). Following Jesus should bring ultimate rest and peace in our lives!
I am not saying resolutions are bad but I would encourage you to make this next year one in which you rest in the Lord. Rest in who he says you are. Rest in the freedom of knowing the Holy Spirit is at work in you at this very moment conforming you to the image of Christ. My prayer for you and me is that we find ultimate peace and rest as we follow Jesus in 2014!