New Year’s resolutions! If you make them, can you keep them? John always gets out his pencil and paper and starts jotting down those bad habits and little shortcomings with a determination that “this time I’m really going to keep my resolutions.”
His January diary reads something like this: “January 1: Everything fine; remembered them all today. January 2: Quite busy at the office; during a phone conversation, a few words slipped, but it wasn’t on purpose. January 5: Not so good; unconsciously took a drink and ordered a second before I caught myself. January 6: Too busy to think about resolutions today. January 10: Forget the resolutions. I’m not so bad after all.”
How many have gone through this same process! It took only a few days to find out it is pretty hard to make ourselves better, and finally, we decide we were not so bad after all. It just seems to be in human nature to want to make oneself better. But, alas, very little can be done. January is when most people find that it is easier to break a resolution than a habit.
The Bible says, “The heart is deceitful above all else…who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9, KJV). Jeremiah 2:22 says, “’Although you wash yourself with soda and use an abundance of soap, the stain of your guilt is still before me,’ declares the Sovereign LORD.” All of us welcome a new start when we realize we have failed. But the problem lies in the fact that we often look for a new start in the wrong place. We look within and try to make over that old sinful nature. And repeatedly we fail. God says you might as well try to take the spots off a leopard as to try to do good when you are accustomed to doing wrong.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17
But God has a way of changing a person and giving him a new start. He begins by blotting out the sins of the past when you ask His forgiveness. You cannot be at your best when you are constantly harassed by your past. Every time you try to do right, you remember the last time you failed. You eventually feel like throwing in the towel and crying, “Why try? What makes me think I can do any better this time?”
But when God forgives sins, He frees you from the bondage of the past. The Bible uses word pictures to describe God’s forgiveness. “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalms 103:12, KJV). How far is east from west? It is an indeterminable distance, for east and west never meet. That’s the picture God gives to let us know our sins will never confront us again.
Another word picture is that of casting all our sins into the depths of the sea. God even forgets our sins, for He says, “their sins…will I remember no more.” “I am He that blots out your transgressions…and will not remember thy sins” (Isaiah 43:25, KJV). And again, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Why not begin the year by knowing what it is to have your sins forgiven? Take the hand of a loving Savior and walk with Him day by day. Instead of making new resolutions this year, trust God, who alone can make a lasting change in your life. You will then be able to look back to this decision as the time when God gave you a new start, a new life, a new hope. Jesus said, “Whoever comes to Me I will never drive away” (John 6:37). That’s good news for today.
Resource reading: 2 Corinthians 5:1-21