I love the New Year because it is a time of new beginnings. We put the past in the past – and set goals for the future. We have a whole set of new opportunities and adventures in front of us for the next 12 months. We begin the year with all these great aspirations of how our lives can change for the better- to become healthier individuals spiritually, physically, financially, mentally, and relationally.
For me, more than ever before, I am excited for this clean slate. Last year was the worst of my life, having gone through personal tragedy, and I’m ready to put that year behind. I am overwhelmed with a powerful sense of hope for the future. I made a few New Year’s Resolutions that I’m working on – choosing joy, getting healthier physically, and spending more intentional quality time with my family. So far, I’m off to a solid start.
However, research indicates that most people have given up on their New Year’s Resolutions within 12 days. That’s really sad! Think about all these great intentions that we have: to do the right things, get our lives in order, make peace with others, etc… and we are so quick to give up on them! What a lost opportunity! And many of these resolutions may not be revisited until the next year- so a full year of being healthier and more fulfilled in life goes out the window. Approximately 8% of people complete their New Year’s Resolutions for the year.
Why are we so quick to give up on resolutions, when so much is on the line? We lose focus, and get distracted by other things. We lack plans and strategies to see these goals through to the end. We fall to temptations, telling ourselves “it is just for this one time”. We allow our peer groups or society in general to be a bad influence, pulling us back towards the lifestyles we are trying to leave. And then there is just the difficulty of establishing new habits. So how can we turn a corner and stay true to our goals?
This Sunday we are going to look at a group of Christians who abandoned their spiritual resolve. Paul wrote the book of Galatians in response- to help them get back to the freedom that we have in Christ. To emphasize the priority of grace and not fall into the trap of legalism- as if God only loves us when we live up to His perfect standard. None of us can live up to His perfect standard.
The message of Galatians is a resounding one today. We face the same pressures and the same spiritual opposition that they were facing 2000 years ago. And we often have the same result, where we slip into a mentality that is more influenced by culture than Christ. Let’s stay strong together. Let’s fix our eyes on the foundation of our faith, and not lose sight of what matters.
I can’t wait to kick this series off with you on Sunday. Paul gives us a roadmap to standing firm in the first 10 verses. And please… don’t have given up your resolutions by then!
See you at Christ Community Church this Sunday, 10am. God bless you- have a great weekend!
-Pastor Nathan Rice