What’s Really Behind New Year’s Resolutions?

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” (Revelation 21:5 ESV)

New Year’s resolutions are a kind of a joke, and we all know it. But many of us will give it a go. We may stick to them for a few days or even a few weeks, but soon the gyms will be roomy again and waistlines will return to their former size. By mid-year, resolutions will fade into oblivion.

New Year’s resolutions are actually more than they seem. On the surface, it appears we just want to make some positive life changes: lose a few pounds, quit smoking, spend less time on social media. These are all good things, but the desire for making positive changes each January is rooted in our desire to create a perfect world.

We want to make heaven come to earth by making our lives heavenly. But even if we were to stick to our resolutions, our lives would not be perfect. Would our lives be slightly better? Sure. But we cannot bring heaven down to earth.

The longing for heaven, however, is not misguided. It is a legitimate longing. If our longing for heaven is a longing for the love, acceptance, and pure bliss associated with spending time in God’s presence, we are very right to long for it.

The truth of the matter is, 2018 will probably not be the year your dreams come true. There will be tragedy and triumph. You will laugh and cry. And maybe 2018 will be, on balance, a wonderful year for you. I hope it is. But look past the turning of the year and into eternity to see what your soul really craves.

If you are a Christ follower, one day Jesus will satisfy your longing for heaven. Because he has purchased our eternal acceptance into the family of God, we will enter his presence and dwell with him forever. So while we may struggle here on earth, Jesus has opened a door to our forever home where all things will be new.

Grace In Pain

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. (1 Peter 4:12)

Suffering is shocking like getting t-boned by a truck. You cruise along in life and then BAM! – everything turns upside down in a painful blur.

Your child is diagnosed with cancer.

Your grandpa passes away.

You get fired.

You are betrayed.

Our bodies naturally try to find balance. It’s called homeostasis. When faced with external changes, the body tries to upregulate or downregulate temperature and normalize the environment inside us so we can continue living.

Our souls do the same thing.

We want to calm the waters within. That’s why some people drink after work or eat a gallon of Blue Bell or play video games or watch endless tv. We think these distractions will calm the internal storm, but it never works. The thunder still rolls.

We are made for another world, and it isn’t this one. We long for heaven because it’s our true home. That’s why when things break – and sometimes by our own doing – we are bewildered. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

This world works a certain way – namely, by God’s design. I know this is counterintuitive, but suffering produces hope after the smoke clears. Suffering brings reality to the surface, and this is why people on their death beds speak with eerie clarity.

Suffering is not senseless, it is purifying.

We should not celebrate our pain and suffering, but we must deal with suffering – all of us. The way to do this is rather simple: expect it and rely upon the Lord for deliverance when it comes. Deliverance does not mean anyone will get well or the marriage will mend. Deliverance through suffering means – in this context – that God will walk through the fire with us and provide his grace. We will learn from suffering. We will become wiser. And if our suffering ultimately kills us, if we are in Christ, it will lead us home to the arms of Jesus. Because of the work of Jesus on the cross, we’re rather indestructible, eternally speaking.

Do not be surprised, friends.