Happy New Year! I love the start of a new year. But I hate New Year’s resolutions! For one thing, you can’t get a treadmill at the gym until at least February! That’s when people’s motivations start to die down. And Weight Watchers? Forget it, the line to join is out the door. I’m sure it’s the same with smoking cessation classes or any other kind of self-help group. Everybody has good intentions about how they are going to change but they fade before you know it.
How many of us have vowed to do something to better ourselves in some way? “I will control my anger.” “I will eat more vegetables.” Or to make a change we think will somehow endear ourselves more to God? “I will spend less time on Instagram and Facebook and more time in the Bible.” “I will go to church more.” So much of what we focus on is an attempt to please God. We hope that we can earn favor, especially God’s favor.
But there is a reason we are called human beings and not human doings. Jesus completed what needed to be accomplished for us to be in relationship with God, to have His approval. On the cross, Jesus said, “It is finished.” We don’t need to add to it. We need to rest in it. This year I challenge you to have an anti-resolution. I encourage you to do NOTHING and just be.
I’m not saying that it doesn’t matter how we live, but that how we live doesn’t earn his love. You’ve already got it. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” It doesn’t say that after we clean up our act, Christ died for us. It doesn’t say once we get ourselves together, Christ died for us. It is NOT about you. It is about the love of a patient and longsuffering God who chose to die on our behalf.
When you sincerely believe that, it changes everything. If you truly see yourself as a sinner who was saved by the death of Jesus, you WANT to live differently. Instead of living like an orphaned foster child trying to earn a place in a family, you begin to rest in the fact that you are a son or a daughter. You don’t live a certain way to earn the Father’s acceptance, but instead you live in light of that love as a treasured child. When you know you are loved, you respond to that with a respectful obedience. It feels different.
I have had many conversations where the other person says, “I should go to church more” or “my prayer life isn’t what it should be.” Well perhaps that is true, but that is not the point. God won’t love you more if you do those things. Don’t just do those things to check a box. Do them because you matter to God. Do them because He wants you to know Him better. Do them because the God of the universe has time for you. Don’t do these things just out of obligation; do them because you already have a seat at the family table and because peace, rest, and belonging are in Him.
As a little bit of an English nerd, I am struck by the irregular helping verb “to be”. To conjugate the verb to be : I am, you are, He is. I love that, because He is the great I AM. For your New Year’s Resolution this year, do nothing. Rest in the Great I AM. Just BE!