As we settle into the new year the inevitability of new year’s resolutions looms over us. Personally, I like goals built around a birthday rather than a new year. Still, a new year forces us to consider a new personal era of a life lived for God. So as we consider the New Year, here is brief encouragement.
Make sure that none of your goals involve the management of sin. If for example, a goal is to loose weight don’t forget that the sin of gluttony, and the counter sin of obsession with body image, need to be put to death (Romans 6). Sins like anger, lust, greed, and covetousness are to be executed. We are not wardens who imprison sin; rather we are members of the firing squad. Take it out back and pull the trigger. The reason is simple.
Imprisoned in the prison of our hearts are inmates of sin; criminals held by the bars of our desires. These bizarre inmates would like to stay as long as possible and do damage from within. Saying that we will “just get a little better this year” is to say to our imprisoned sin that we will simply set it free. But this exposes a high degree of naiveté over the rate of recidivism. Sin does not reform itself. It will return with a vengeance, and when we act on it, it brings an even greater load of guilt. No, the sin needs to be met with the Christ child who came to be God with us and God in us. The baby who came to do battle fought and defeated the ultimate effects of sin, and can help us deal with the immediate fight with sin as well.
This is not to suggest sinless perfection is the goal. Rather, this is a simple encouragement that we do not have to sin. The God who came to be with us did not come to help us manage sin by keeping it from getting out of hand. He came as the sin slayer. We are to join Him in fighting and killing sin. And, the irony is, that my flesh wants to resurrect what is dead (James 1:14). So I need the Joy of the Lord to be my strength as we rise to slay sin again all through this year (Neh. 8:10).