“... God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” – 2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV).
“And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior,
who is Christ the Lord” – Luke 2:10-11 (ESV).
2016 is here! Many have already made resolutions – promises that this year will be different than last year. Some may have already failed to keep their well-intended promise!
It’s true; there are some things we can pay attention to, like what – and how much – we eat. We can also choose to get off the couch and exercise (I find it interesting that gyms are full and at peak performance in January. However, by the time we reach summer, there’s lot’s of workout space available). We mean well. Our intentions are honorable. However, for some of us, our follow-through is less than stellar.
Do you recall any broken resolutions? You fully intended to keep them. You began with good intentions. You disciplined yourself. However, somewhere along the way life encountered your resolve, other priorities took precedence, and before you knew it, your resolution got tabled until next year.
One thing I’ve discovered about my resolutions is: they are easier to make than keep. The reason is, in my effort I’m weak; I do not love myself nearly as much as God loves me, and my lack of self-control is evidence that I need a Savior!
Paul’s words to Timothy are helpful for all who intend to keep their resolutions. God is in our corner! Despite our weakness, in God, we find the boldness to press on. Although we fail, in God we discover the strength to pick our self up. In God, we learn how to love others – and our self. When our follow-through is poor, in God we find a resolve to try again.
For those who are ready to move on from Christmas, forgive me! I recognize that technically we are beyond the Christmas season. However, Luke’s recorded words, (frequently used at Christmastime) are a necessary reminder for us each day of the year! They remind us that the celebration of Jesus’ arrival is every day, not just December 25th! He comes to us each day, meeting us where we are.
While I must bear responsibility for my resolutions, there are things in life that are beyond my ability to handle. In these moments, it is important that I remember: “For unto ME, a Savior is born.” When the best resolve I can muster is not sufficient, Jesus is present with me now. I don’t have to wait until next Christmas!
We begin this year with a clear recognition that our world is in pandemonium. There are many issues that people are discussing – longing to discover solutions. We want peace. We’re tired of seeing violence, corruption, and the suffering that seems rampant within our world.
It’s amazing to me to see how many times in Scripture the LORD or an angel speaks the words “Fear not,” to individuals lost, suffering, or in harms way.
Fearful Abram (Abraham), who desires to follow God, has no sense of direction, other than to leave his familiar surroundings in obedience to God’s instruction. In a vision, the word of the LORD comes to him: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” (Genesis 15:1)
The prophet Isaiah speaks a reassuring word to fearful Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” (Isaiah 43:1)
Daniel's heart aches because of the condition of his people. He hears this word in a vision: “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words.” (Daniel 10:12)
To frightened shepherds in a field, the word of the Lord comes: “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”
For the resolutions we make (and break): Fear not! For our world that desperately needs peace, healing, and comfort: Fear not! For the challenge you face that is bigger than yourself: Fear not!
“For unto YOU is born this day in the
city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
May your New Year and your new resolutions always make room for
the continual coming of Jesus.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), 2Tim.1:7, Lk.2:10-11,Gen. 15:1, Is.43:1, Dan.10:12
● What are your goals for this coming year? Have you offered those objectives to God?
● Are you faced with a challenge this year that is bigger than what you can handle?
Are you willing to invite Jesus to help you?
● How might you celebrate the coming of Christ throughout this New Year?
● What New Year resolutions might God desire for you to take on this year?