Why do people make New Year’s resolutions?
Perhaps it’s the sentimental sense of newness and possibility that comes with the calendar year ticking over. It’s a cue for us to recall our best intentions for life and to renew our determination to live them out. “This year will not be like the last. I can change…” But the reality is that most people fail to live out their New Year’s resolutions, often with alarming speed.
New Year’s Resolutions are silly really. We all know that. There’s nothing about a new year that promises personal renewal. It doesn’t offer a new strength of will that we didn’t have before. Ultimately the new year is not a symbol of possibility but of futility. Life is frustrating. Progress is hard. Our aspirations far outstrip our ability to achieve them. And, not to be too blunt about it, but we all die in the end anyway. Why bother?
Christians shouldn’t make New Year’s Resolutions. We should make Resurrection Resolutions instead. In a sense this is what all Christians should be doing anyway, but let’s make it an explicit part of Easter. Tell your neighbour that you don’t make New Year’s Resolutions but that you make Resurrection Resolutions instead. “What’s that?” they ask. You answer: “it’s like New Year’s resolutions, except it isn’t futile. God promises that through the power of Jesus’ resurrection we really can change. It’s not all up to me anymore.”
In Ephesians 1 the Apostle Paul prays that God would enable Christians to understand the ‘power’ that is at work in them. What is that power? The power at work in us is the very ‘same as that mighty strength that God exerted when he raised Christ from the dead’ (Ephesians 1:19-20).
Nearly 2000 years ago in a cold, rocky tomb, God transformed the broken, abused corpse of Jesus to be so utterly full of life that he will live for all eternity. This was an absolutely spectacular act of God. Words do it no justice. The kind of power it takes to make a human body eternal is beyond our understanding. Our modern medical knowledge offers us no additional comprehension or insight. All we know is that Jesus is alive – truly, physically alive – and that he will be forevermore.
Christians live in wait for the return of Jesus when God will perform that same miracle on each one of us (Philippians 3:21). We too will have eternal life with not the slightest evidence of the ravages of death. But in the meantime, whilst our bodies still decay, we are inwardly renewed by the Spirit and power of Jesus’ resurrection (2 Corinthians 4:16).
That means that we should plan to be transformed. We should resolve to be transformed. God promises both our future resurrection and our present transformation by the power of Jesus’ resurrection.
The Year of Resurrection
After Jesus’ resurrection the calendar changed. It wasn’t a new year; it was a new era. We now live Anno Domini (AD): in the ‘year of the Lord’. We live in the year of the Lord’s resurrection power. We ought to recognise that regularly. New Year’s resolutions are about me and my strength to change myself. Resurrection Resolutions are about recognising that Christ is at work in his people by his Spirit now. So as
So make Resurrection Resolutions to usher in the new year. Make them at Easter. Make them throughout the year. Change is no longer futile. If you know Jesus, then the power of his resurrection is at work in you.
So, what are your Resurrection Resolutions this year?
How will 2019 see you become more like Jesus?
(Originally posted on the Gospel Coalition Australia website, 31/3/2018)