The New Year is coming. A time to make resolutions. To promise to do better. What resolutions will you make? Eat better? Eat less? Exercise more? Quit smoking? Quit drugs? Go to church more? Pray more? Be kinder to those around you? It takes 60 seconds for the ball to drop in Times Square on New Year’s Eve. Most years, it takes about the same amount of time for me to drop my new year’s resolution.
Tonight the Bible opened to Ephesians:
So I declare and testify in the Lord that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds; darkened in understanding, alienated from the life of God because of their ignorance, because of their hardness of heart, they have become callous and have handed themselves over to licentiousness for the practice of every kind of impurity to excess. That is not how you learned Christ, assuming that you have heard of him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus, that you should put away the old self of your former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth.
Paul tells us the New Year’s resolution we need to make: you should put away the old self of your former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth.
We all go through periods where we drown in the futility of our own minds and our own desires. Our understanding is darkened. Perhaps we sink into a depression. We are alienated from God and from light. And we give in to all of the vices (that we then seek to change with our new year resolutions).
The truth that we need is in Jesus. This New Year let’s renew ourselves in Jesus. Let’s put away our old selves, our deceitful desires and all of the things that take us away from God — all of the things that we think make us happy, that never really seem to do the trick. Let’s put away all of our sorrows, all of our sins, all of our mistakes and all of our regrets from the past year (or past years). And allow God’s spirit to renew us. And then let’s put on a new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth. Let’s empty ourselves so that God can fill us.
Renew my spirit. Create in me a clean heart. Make me steadfast in your way. Help me to cast off my old ways and all of my deceitful desires and to cloak myself in you.