My New Year Resolution

We’re about to tick over into 2019. Can you believe it?! I wonder what 2019 will look like for our church. I wonder what it will look like for you and for me. Many of us are coming up with New Year’s resolutions this time of year, but I thought I would write about something a little different. Because most of us have been so busy doing that it might do us some good to stop doing for a little while and simply rest. So, rather than resolving to do something more this year, perhaps we can resolve to stop and do less – to rest! Rest is a very Biblical idea. God rested on the seventh day of creation (Genesis 2:2). Jesus invites us to find rest in him (Matthew 11:28). In fact, Jesus paved the way for us to enter back into God’s rest which we lost at Adam and Eve’s rebellion (Hebrews 3:18 – 4:3).

Rest is counterintuitive. It flies in the face of our false religious ideas. Man-made religion will tell us, “Do!”. But the work of Jesus tells us, “Done!”. Human religion will tell us, “Be good!” Jesus speaks from the cross and says, “Receive good.” Thus, as Christians it can be unhealthy to go along with the New Year’s resolution trend because along with it often comes the idea of bettering ourselves through ‘try harder’, ‘believe in yourself’, ‘grit your teeth’ strategies. I’m not trying to be the New Year’s resolution grinch (I’ve made them myself)! I just want to point out that often the strategies that go along with New Year’s resolutions run counter to the message of Christianity.

You see, the Bible doesn’t describe our predicament in a way that would lead us to believe that we just need a little more elbow grease. No, the Bible is frightfully honest, ‘you were dead in your transgressions and sins’ (Ephesians 2:1). We don’t need a few vitamins and healthy habits, we need CPR and the defibrillator! We need resurrection! But… the good news is that Jesus specialises in bringing dead people to life. He comes along without us even knowing and breathes resurrection life into us. He doesn’t prescribe us a list of rehab exercises, or tell us to try harder or believe in ourselves. No, He tells us first and foremost to rest. To rest in what he has done. To accept it and enjoy it. This is perhaps the most spiritual thing we can resolve to do this new year.

So, I think I will make a New Year’s resolution. I’m going to rest more in the finished work of Jesus.

Grace to you,

Ben

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