Many are celebrating this new year with hope that it will be more fruitful. While people promise to make a change for their own betterment, real and lasting transformation often doesn’t occur. The reason? We have become a society that focuses on symptoms instead of fixing the root cause of our problems.
According to one poll, the top resolutions people often make are: get a better job, quit smoking, save money, eat better and drink less. It’s easy to develop unhealthy habits and difficult to remove them from our lives. Do we vow that “This will be the year I make a change!”, but soon fall back into the same comfortable ruts? Jesus warned against this mindset of reliance on our own authority. “But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one” (Matthew 5:34-37).
While changing one’s life isn’t bad, we must ask ourselves “For what purpose am I doing this?” For a Christian, change is essential and must occur in our lives daily—not just once a year.
The willingness to make true change is the basis for living a Christian life. God’s angels rejoice when they see us repent, “Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10).
But true repentance requires God’s Spirit working in our lives. Without the Holy Spirit, we are blind. Jesus warns: “…And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch” (Matthew 15:14). Those of us who were properly baptized made a commitment to God the Father with a promise of true change. Let’s be sure we are always found doing just that.