Friday, December 31, 2010

The futility of New Year's resolutions, the surety of Christ

I vacationed frequently at the beach in Venice, Florida. The Gulf coast is so peaceful the water so blue, I found it incredibly relaxing. One day, I watched a couple of kids make a huge sand castle. They spent most of the day on it. It was not architecturally sophisticated. They simply dragged up pail after pail of sand, made it about as tall as themselves, and spent a while looking for the perfect stones and shells to adorn it.  A stick on top and a scrap of seaweed made the flag. And what castle is complete without a moat? The kids wanted to be sure no enemy could raid their fortress, so they made three moats.

"Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand." (Mt 7:26).

non-believers' foundation is sand
Then the tide came in. Their day's work was washed away. The kids tried unsuccessfully to restore, prop up, and protect their creation but it didn't work. The inevitable happened. "...the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash." (Mt 7:276).

Another place I used to vacation is Jasper Beach Maine. It is a wild beach in far eastern Maine, and one of only two beaches in the world to have stones for its base and not sand. The stones have been rounded by wave action and high tides rolling them around, and they make a nice clacking sound akin to pool balls when you walk over them. The beach is never eroded because the rocks seem so stable. But walking on them is hard, they roll, they move, and in the end, putting a chaise lounge atop them to lay on is almost impossible because the rocks move so much. Even that seemingly solid foundation crumbles in the end.

lukewarm believers' foundation is on shifting stones
If you haven't realized the allusions yet, it is to say that founding your life on anything other than the Gospel of Jesus Christ means you will topple. You may not topple until you die, or you may topple during the storms of your life, but you will topple. Apart from Him you can do nothing. (John 15:5).
believers' foundation is the Rock, and He is the light!
"Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock." (Mt 7:24-25). Make 2011 the year you found your life upon the Rock! Be in His light! "While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light."(John 12:316a).

Many people take the New Year to make resolutions, that is, make self-improvement promises to one's self. 'I will lose weight,' 'I will stop smoking', 'I will spend more time with family', 'I will work harder...' are typical promises. Research shows that most New Year's resolutions fail in a week. Self-improvement is impossible without Jesus but "in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come." (2 Cor 5:17). Let HIM re-create you! You will not fail. You will "conform no longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." (Rom 12:2). He will "strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way." (Isaiah 35:3). "Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." (Phil 1:6). Your resolution will not fail within a week if you allow Jesus to recreate you!

If you make ONE resolution this year, it is that you will follow Jesus as your Savior. Resolve to put aside the sinful man and allow Him to re-create you in His image. And yes, I am talking to people who think that are already followers as well as non-believers. Take stock, be sure of your salvation, resolve to allow Him to strengthen you. And your New Year will become a New Eternity.


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