Every new year brings with it the impulse to try harder, start over, or otherwise make things right. We take stock of our successes and failures of the past year and determine to have more of the former and less of the latter in the coming one. We make resolutions to exercise more, eat healthier, be better people.
As Christians, our resolutions often include things like “do my quiet time daily”, “pray more”, “read my Bible every day”, “go to church regularly”. And while all those intentions are great, we need to remember that Jesus comes to us in the chaos. He saves us out of the mess that is our day-to-day lives. Sometimes I wonder if God celebrates the new year. He created time, but the calendar didn’t come to make us new: Jesus did. And that newness is ours to take hold of every and any day of the year, not just annually on January 1.
Jesus comes to us in the chaos and the mess. He saves us out of all our failures and abandoned resolutions from years gone by, our weakness and our best efforts, our tiredness and our bursts of zeal. He comes when we make these resolutions, but He also comes when we fail to keep them. The only difference is that when we fail, we sometimes let Him come closer.
Jesus doesn’t ask us to try harder. He asks us to rest.
Psalm 46:10 says “Cease striving and know that I am God”.
He invites us to rest in what He has done for us on the cross, and what He is continuing to do in us each day. Our efforts are not wrong, but our efforts can earn us nothing because Jesus earned it all for us when He gave His life on the cross.
So this year, I resolve not to try harder, but to instead embrace my grave inadequacy and, in turn, the all-sufficiency of my Saviour. Instead of resolving to finally get it right, I resolve to walk with Him as He makes it right. Instead of determining to get better, I determine to get closer to Hm through His Word. Instead of making lists of all I want to accomplish, I want to notice all that He is already doing and join Him in that. May Jesus alone be my righteousness, my goal, my reward. May I always know my need for Him.