With the New Year quickly approaching, I have the tendency to think of all the things that I would like to change in the next year. I become overwhelmed and anxious as the list starts with only a couple of things and steadily grows the more I ponder. I really need to read my Bible every day; perhaps I can start a reading plan. I could always drop a few pounds of baby weight and get that stretched out belly tightened up -- my baby is a year old for goodness sake. I also want to be more kind and gentle with my boys. I really could buckle down on a budget and be a better saver. I must pray for my husband more; what kind of wife am I? And the list goes on and on.
This list isn’t a bad list. These are good things to strive for. And this is where Satan begins to whisper his lies by telling me that I will never accomplish any of these things, so why try? Katie, you start things often, but never finish. Why even start? You’ll never change no matter how hard you try. You know what, he’s right. He is right that I am not great at completing new endeavors. He is also right that striving for these things on my own won’t get me anywhere. It is easy to become discouraged, to throw a pity party and finish the year right where I began.
“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate...Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” (Romans 7:15, 24-25)
When I struggle with my actions and a lack of change in my character, I am reminded of the inward sinfulness that we are all born into. It is our nature to sin. Our natural reactions are not good. Our normal tendencies are harmful and sinful. This seems depressing and discouraging; and yet, I feel hope. Hope in the promises of our Savior. Hope that He is not finished with me yet. Hope that He is working in me and through me.
My prayer today for me and for you is that our hearts will remain soft as clay, easy to mold and change. May we allow the Holy Spirit to dwell in us so we are able to serve Him in all that we say and do. Let’s hold on to these promises together as the New Year comes and goes:
“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26)
“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:19)
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)