Last month we celebrated the birth of the Savior. This month we celebrate a new year. December’s gaze into the birth of a Baby of the past has given way to January’s peek into the next 12 months of our future. I’ve taken down my Christmas decorations and placed them in their special spot in the attic. Christmas carols are no longer playing, lights are no longer twinkling, and stockings are no longer hanging.
As we shift gears from the Christmas season to New Year, it can be all too easy to shift our minds from the Christmas Reason to the New Year’s resolutions – forgetting that the Reason for the Season is the Keeper of the Resolutions. God’s gift to us is always God with us – Immanuel.
It’s easy to get excited about a new year, a new chance, a new start, a new us on January 1st. And it’s not even difficult to maintain that excitement for a month, maybe even two. But March inevitably arrives. And the excitement, those resolutions, that New Year euphoria of a new start begins to show signs of wear, of weariness – and of failure. And we wonder why we couldn’t live up to our expectations.
Every year we promise it will be different. We promise that this year we will succeed, we will transform. We will spend more time at Jesus’ feet. We will stop unhealthy habits. We will serve more and complain less. We will honor our husbands well and laugh with our kids often. We will. We will.
Well, I’ve got good news, ladies! This year, we can. But it requires something of us. It requires we do less – and more. Because God’s Gift to us is always God with us – Immanuel.
We must learn to lean less on ourselves and lean more on His love. We must press others less and press more into His promises. We must wonder less about the ways of the world and ponder more about His ways of wisdom. We must accept apathy less and accept amazing grace more. In short, we must try less and trust more, because God’s Gift to us is always God with us – Immanuel.
James 4:7 tells us that we possess the ability to make the devil flee from us – we can resist him. The lies of the enemy telling us we will fail yet again can be silenced. But there’s only one way to do this: We must first submit ourselves to God. The Greek word for submit is hupotasso and means to subject oneself to another’s control, to yield absolutely, to obey, to arrange oneself under another.
The very Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in us (Romans 8:11)! To resist the enemy and find victory, we simply have to recognize and submit to God’s Spirit, power, availability, and always present grace in our lives. His strength is made perfect – perfect – in our weakness (2 Cor. 12:9).
We’ve got a lot of that, don’t we, that weakness? This year, let’s place it in His hands, and allow Him to transform our weakness into His strength. Let’s let 2015’s motto be, “You’re on, God.”
When we find ourselves yelling more and loving less, “You’re on, God. I’ll lean on you. Do your thing through me.”
When we find ourselves whining more and giving less, “You’re on, God. More of you, less of me.”
When we find ourselves trying harder and trusting less, “You’re on, God. I choose to be like you.”
And then let’s watch what He does in 2015. Because God’s Gift to us is always God with us – Immanuel.
In His name and for His glory,