Happy New Year! I hope everyone has had a great holiday season this year! Spending time with loved ones, friends, and your church family always brings a smile to my face! With the onset of 2012 upon us, we turn to that time of year where we all make resolutions, promise to do things different, or a myriad of other things. Why is that? Well, because the year changes we believe it is our chance to change the things we dislike about ourselves and our environment.
It is so easy to get caught in the trap of making resolutions but never following through. I feel that I am guilty of this yearly. We set goals that are very noble, very lofty, and unfortunately in a lot of cases, unattainable. I want to lose 100 lbs., but to be honest, I should probably start at a smaller goal of 25 lbs. A series of short-term goals leading up to the goal in mind is always a more effective route than a giant mountain of a goal that makes you feel that you are standing at the bottom of Mt. Everest holding ten feet of rope and a can of chicken noodle soup. It’s absolutely unreachable without proper preparation and appropriate equipment.
Where am I going with all this? Good question—I’m not sure I know. I want to bring something to the front of our minds as we begin this new year, Paul, in his letter to the church at Ephesus says this,
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast” (Eph. 2:8-9).
This passage hits me hard. Why? Sure it’s beautiful—it reminds me of my place in Christ. It also reminds me of my humanity, realizing that I can do absolutely nothing to be good enough for God. Read that last sentence out loud again.
I can do nothing? That scares me to death. Why? I’m a control freak. I like to think I have a handle on things. I like to know that I have things planned out to an extent that I am comfortable with. This passage, however, is God telling me (and you) that He’s the one in charge. It’s not me. It never was me. It’s never going to be me! It’s always been, always will be about our merciful, gracious Heavenly Father!
Why is it not about me? The text says “so that no on can boast.” God knows me—He knows us. He sees how we relish in our successes and crumble in our failures—so He took all that out of the equation! He says, “This is my gift of grace—this is my doing; I AM is in charge.” As I type this I feel a peace that I haven’t felt in many, many years. I feel the Spirit tugging on my heart saying, “It’s not about you, Scott—stop trying so hard. Why are you trying to earn what I’ve already freely given?” As 10th Avenue North so eloquently writes, “This is not about what you’ve done, but what’s been done for you, this is not about where you’ve been but where your brokenness brings you to.”
I want to challenge you this week—this year even. It’s a new year, and God promises that when we come to Him in repentance and in our brokenness any day of the year that He will wipe your slate clean and reboot your heart, mind, and life. It’s not about you. You cannot ever be good enough. If you could, Jesus Christ wouldn’t have had to come and die for you. However, in God’s perfect judgment, He saw that we; me—I would need a Savior. He provided that. All he asks of you is to come to Him. Bring Him your broken heart, your hurts, your hang ups, your teetering self-esteem—bring them to Jesus this year. Stop trying to “fix it.” You can’t “fix it.” Read that again. However, with men it is impossible, but with God, all things are possible!
Make 2012 the year your make your Declaration of Dependence and abolish your Declaration of Independence (no I’m not talking about the political document.). What I mean is this: Let go and take that step of faith that you’ve been putting off for so long—take that step, and leave your problems behind. Become so dependant on Christ that you talk to Him every second, and that you know He is the reason you are alive! Make that change, because in the realm of making the choice, it is all about you. Let God be God, and you—you just be His child. Just something to think about.