New Year's resolutions are interesting. The new year always seems like a great opportunity to turn over new leaves, try new things, give things up, start things over. That's what resolutions are, right? I resolve to do this, or I resolve to stop that. But even though we fully intend to keep them, most of us who actually make resolutions fail to ride them all the way to the end. Regardless of our best intentions, life intervenes.
And as disappointed as we might be in ourselves when we break our resolution, I don’t think God is disappointed in us. Sure, God wants us to change, to grow, to improve, but mostly God wants us to think. This is why Paul tells us, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2) And you’ve heard the words of Socrates - “An unexamined life is not worth living” - both Paul and Socrates are calling for us to examine our lives, examine our direction.
They’re not necessarily suggesting that we beat every bad habit and overcome every obstacle, but they are suggesting that we should be thinking about it. When we miss the mark, we should at least notice. But how much of our life is on autopilot? How often are we just running along and rolling with whatever comes?
James says blaming the devil is a cop out. He says it’s our own evil desires that drag us into temptation. So maybe recognizing that fact is half the battle. Maybe living the Christian life is mostly just paying attention. Don't go off half-cocked. Live an examined life. Think and go. Pray and go.
Join us on January 3, 10am, at The Anchor, as we continue our study of The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:5-13) with the verse 13 “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” and learn more about what we’re praying about when we pray for direction and deliverance.
See you then!
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POSSIBLE QUESTIONS FOR SMALL GROUP or PERSONAL STUDY:
(feel free to chime in on these questions in the comments!)
- When have you been really successful with a resolution? Not so successful?
- What’s the difference between temptation and sin?
- What are some tools that help you steer away from particular temptations?
Matthew 6:13, James 1:13-15, Hebrews 4:15, 1 Peter 5:8-9, Romans 8:31b