Our human self-sufficiency is never more evident than at the beginning of the calendar year with our New Year’s Resolutions. Goals are great, but so often we set about those goals in a self-reliant, try harder kind of way.
As Christians, many of these goals are linked to spiritual growth, such as wanting to read the Bible more.
If spiritual growth were as simple as trying harder, we would all be light years ahead of where we find ourselves.
I recently came across some Judah Smith quotes from his book, [amazon_link id=”B00ZRP7466″ target=”_blank” ]Jesus Is For You: Stories of God’s Relentless Love[/amazon_link], which speak to this topic
The constant battle is to trust Jesus for growth and change even more than our own effort.
“Jesus isn’t standing aloof yelling at us to climb out of our pits and clean ourselves up so we can be worthy of Him. He was wading waist-deep into the muck of life, weeping with the broken. rescuing the lost, and healing the sick.”
“We will never be at rest as long as we are carrying the burden of trying to please God by our good deeds. That is as impossible as it is unnecessary. Jesus was the only one who could, and He already did it, so we need to learn to rest in His completed work.”
We are so good at focusing on the past and future elements of the gospel.
Jesus has forgiven our sins and all the horrible things we have done in the past.
And as we continue to walk with Christ, our future in eternity is secure.
But salvation is not merely a clean slate or a ticket for the main event.
God is with us, and this gives us strength to walk with Him here on Earth.
Listen to these thoughts from Judah Smith:
“God is with us, and He is for us. This is the gospel. So no matter what I go through, He is with me and He is for me. He is on my side.”
“Grace is more than a principle, more than an idea, more than a doctrine or dogma, more than a cover-up for sin. Grace is a person. And his name is Jesus.”
Perhaps our resolutions going into the New Year should reflect the “who” more than the “what.”
The who changes to focusing on knowing and walking with Christ rather than our own strength.
When the “who” is settled, it gives us the proper place to turn our attention to the “what” or the “goal”
The “what” becomes responding to this gift of grace through obedience and faithfulness, motivated by gratitude rather than our feeble efforts at payback.
As we do this, we will be walking in the present reality of what salvation accomplishes.
God did not just wipe the slate clean and slap us on the backside wishing us luck, reminding us He will see us at the finish line.
He will walk through the mire and muck of life on a broken planet with us; day in and day out.
Grace with us is God with Us!
Photo by Padurariu Alexandru
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