Welcome to 2019! For those of us in Iowa, the turn of the calendar usually means cold weather, snow, and new resolutions for a new year.
If you are making a resolution this year, whether to lose weight, save money, or break a bad habit, you are actually in the minority. I read this week that less than half (40-45%) of Americans make a New Year’s Resolution. However, of those who make a resolution, 25% will fail to keep it within the first week, 36% within a month, and 54% by June.
Now, there are all sorts of techniques you could apply to help you keep your resolution for the entire year. For instance,
- you could work at your resolution with someone
- you could hire a personal coach to encourage you and hold you accountable to your resolution
- or you could give yourself some sort of reward on Dec 31 if you hold to it all year long.
But did you know the Gospel (the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection) can actually help you hold to your resolution, especially if you follow Jesus?
Look to Jesus
The author of the book of Hebrews says:
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2 NIV)
If you know anything about the death of Jesus, you know it was horrific. There was no joy in it. The “joy set before him” was on the other side of the cross. Jesus knew he was going to rise from the dead (he predicted it after all!), and knew his willing sacrifice on the cross would pay the penalty owed for sin and humans could be forgiven and reconciled with God.
And so Jesus resolved to endure the cross, to stick with the plan even when the pain was excruciating. He didn’t quit because He knew what lay ahead – the redemption of His people from their sin.
If you are a Jesus-follower, then I would encourage you to “fix your eyes on Jesus” as you resolve to make a change in your life. Let the Gospel be your motivation to become the person God is calling you to be.
If you are not a Jesus-follower (and have actually read this far!), I would encourage you to do more than just let Jesus be a source of inspiration. I would invite you to let Jesus’ sacrifice be for your sin, to enter into a personal relationship with Him. If you were to make following Jesus your New Year’s Resolution, you would see the most significant change in your life you could ever experience. Because it would not just change this year, it would change your eternity.