As another year draws to a close, my natural inclination is to make a long list of things that I want to change about myself or things that I want to accomplish in the new year. I want to lose a pound, or two (or three or four), stop hitting the snooze button on my alarm and wake up on time, write daily, pray more, read more, love people more deeply and God more fully, spend more time reflecting and spend less time watching the television – just to name a few. All of this to say that when I look back on 2012 at this point next year, I want to know that I have changed, that I have accomplished a few things, and that I have broken a few nasty habits.
I know that I am not alone and that others are busily making their lists as well. It is a tradition of sorts that we all engage in every year, at least here in the United States, I can’t speak for the rest of the world. However, the unfortunate thing is that most of our best wishes and hopes for the New Year will not amount to much more than good intentions. This is not to say that we wont try really hard, because we will, at least I know I will. But it seems to me, that resolutions must go beyond a matter of personal will in order for true change to be realized.
As many of you probably already know by now, I am an avid listener to Living on the Edge, a radio show hosted by Chip Ingram. Yesterday, as I drove to work, I listened to the show and was encouraged to learn that resolutions, or the forming of good habits have absolutely nothing to do with me, much less you or anyone else. Instead, it has everything to do with the grace of God flowing through our lives, enabling us to change according to his glory.
In just enough time for the New Year, as I make my resolutions I am much more focused on grace. I need God’s grace to wake up in the morning on time, because if its up to me I will push the snooze button for two more hours. I need God’s grace to deepen my prayer life and to love people more, because I know that in and of myself I will fall terribly short of these goals. In order to make resolutions more than just a tradition or a good thing to do, this grace is what I need. This does not guarantee that I will be perfect and meet every goal that I make. In all honesty, some of my goals might be unrealistic or may even fail to address the things that truly need to take place in my life. However, grace will guarantee that everything that I accomplish will be accomplished in God’s strength not mine, and because of that, they will become habits that last a lifetime.