Is change really necessary for New Year's Resolutions?

Okay, Okay... I know I'm late. I get depressed thinking about making New Year Resolutions. Do you? Do you look at your list six months down the road and think... ACK! I've failed!

How often do we recognize what others need to change in their
Painted by Gina Burgess (c) 2012
lives before we recognize what changes we need to make? So many of us make New Year’s resolutions with truly less resolution and more "feel better about myself". After the first month it seems all the resolution dissolves. Sometimes we keep those resolutions alive for several months before they bite the dust: Lose weight, quit smoking, less temper and more patience, better with money management, start saving for retirement. Most of our resolutions can be reduced down to having more self-control, which is part of the fruit of the Spirit. Should I repeat that?

Gal 5:22  But the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, 23  meekness, self-control. Against such things there is not a law. 

Wait… what was that last part again? Against such things there is not a law. Being led by the Spirit we are not under Law, Paul says it in verse 18. It isn’t too much of a leap to conclude that we cannot exhibit these things such as love, joy peace, self-control, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness, long-suffering, by our selves. Only through the strength of the Holy Spirit and by His gift of the Fruit can we exhibit these things which are a testimony to God’s work of changing our hearts and minds: in short sanctification.

Change is a scary thing.

We resist change almost to death because we love the familiar and hold that close. We go to the same Bible verses because we know them, we study the same passages because we love them. Yet, there is so much more to behold in God’s love letter.

A year ago, my church has started a Read The Bible in a Year ... again. We're doing it again this year, too. Last year there were some verses that went along with Genesis 3&4. James 4:7 was one of them. I almost did not look them up because I didn't want to take the time, then I decided right then that God was more important than time and He would bless me. I would receive, if nothing else, He would at least give me peace for checking the verses. Then I decided that one verse wasn't enough, but I should read the background chapter as well as the verse. For quite a long time now, God has been working on me about reading bits and pieces and filling in with my own understanding rather than studying the whole using His guidance and understanding.

Even though I have studied my Bible deeply for more than -- cough -- for a long time, He has reminded me that I lose so much because of familiarity. I think I know, so I skip it and move on hunting a "new truth" or "new insight". I'm ashamed to say, I've missed so much in the past few years because of familiarity. 

Yes... I would have missed God's admonitions:
  Jas 4:8  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. 
  Jas 4:10  Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
  Jas 4:14  whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.
  Jas 4:17  Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.

So, I ask you is change completely necessary? Certainly, it is. For we must conform ourselves to godly ways. Healthy bodies and healthy minds, and everything in perspective. Why try to do anything with our own understanding and our own power and our own self-control? 

He gives us the desire to get out of the box of familiarity, to be still and know God, to unlock those dark corners of our heart and let the fresh breezes of God's word whip away those cobwebs masking our deeper understanding of what He is saying.

Read the Bible through using His understanding which is a free gift of the Holy Spirit. Thank God for helping us to realize there is no place like peace.
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