Friday, November 22, 2013

Next Year? ................................. Parables 044

New Year’s Resolutions anyone? One dictionary defines a resolution as a “termination of an abnormal condition.”... ceasing to BE something that is not normal. Most resolutions are decisions to stop DOING unwanted behavior, and begin DOING new behavior. It would be interesting to take a look at resolutions from the point of view of BEING (or character), rather than DOING.

The human race, when first created, was perfect. Adam and Eve were innocent of sin, lived in harmony with each other and with their Creator. Their work was rewarding. They were content. And This was the norm, the way that they were supposed to be. 

After Adam and Eve rebelled against God, they were no longer innocent but guilty. They were put out of the presence of God, and their normal, happy life became difficult, marked by sin, and diametrically opposite to the paradise they had been expelled from.

Since then, we have become so accustomed to our abnormal behavior that we tend to think of it as normal, except around New Years, when something stirs us to “turn over a new leaf,” “begin fresh,” or simply “do it right next year.”

However, the behaviors that we resolve to change are simply byproducts of our character, our BEING. Since New Year’s Resolutions generally take a swipe only at what we DO, our good intentions inevitably fail because we merely treat symptoms. And even if we wanted to, we cannot change what we ARE. We cannot terminate our abnormal condition. The Bible questions our ability to change ourselves with, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?” (Jeremiah 13:23) 

But there is good news. God’s Word says much about the power of God to “make a new thing.” His creation gives examples, from the rising of a volcanic mountain off the flat ocean floor, to the metamorphosis of a butterfly from a fuzzy caterpillar. As for us humans, the Bible speaks of “putting off the old nature and putting on the new” and “walking in newness of life.” 

It is possible to have new life. The source of this new life is Jesus Christ. In fact, He was so full of life that the grave could not hold Him. 

1 John 5 says that anyone who has the Son (Jesus) has life, but those who do not have Christ, do not have life.
2 Corinthians 5:17 puts it this way, “If anyone is in Christ, they are a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 

That means that a person who has received Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord of their life is made new, changed . . .  given the capacity to live as they were intended to live, set free from guilt, restored to a right relationship with God, and changed. Actually, they have become normal. 

This year, instead of making a list of resolutions of things to DO, a resolution that will perhaps run dry by January 30, try the definition of resolution that calls for an end to the abnormal condition of guilt and sin. Begin the new year with a new life, everlasting life, through a relationship with the only One who has that kind of life.

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