I think everyone looks forward to a New Year. Well, maybe not everyone, but I think for most of us, a new year represents an opportunity to rethink how we are living, and take steps to make some healthy changes in our lives. We are all about resolutions and change when a new year rolls around. It’s a chance to say goodbye to old ways and try on some new habits.
Some will join a gym. I’ve done that. Some will go on a diet. (Done that, too) Some will resolve to spend less money, take up a new hobby, stay in better touch with family and friends. Some go back to church or renew their commitment there, and resolve to work on their relationship with God. (Been there, done all of those, too)
Most of what we usually resolve to do this time of year has more to do with our outsides than with our insides. We want to change what can be seen or easily perceived by ourselves and others. Why? Because as hard as it is to change those things, they are easier to adjust than making changes on the inside, in our hearts and minds. But here’s the kicker, that’s from where real change has to come.
We face hard circumstances in this life. We have made so many technological, medical, economical, and social advances since the time of our grandparents, but I think they knew something we have forgotten. While we spend so much time struggling to make this world a haven, they knew they needed to focus on the life to come and on the person of Jesus in order to make it through this life. They knew this world would never be a substitute for their home in eternity.
“When we all… get to heaven… what a day of rejoicing that will be! When we all… see Jesus… we’ll sing and shout the victory!”
I think that’s why my grandmother rarely let things that went wrong in this life keep her down for very long. Her eyes were set on Jesus. Her heart was set on her eternal home. She knew the temporary struggles of this life should serve to keep her focused rather than distracted.
I’ve spent my fair share and then some teaching children in church. For many years, as my kids were coming up through preschool and elementary school, it was my passion. I wanted them to have an encounter with Jesus from the start. I used to get tickled, though, when I would ask questions of my church kids about whatever Bible story we were studying, and more often than not, no matter the question, their answer would be, “Jesus”.
“So, who led the people of Israel out of Eqypt?”
“No… it was Moses. Moses led the Jews out of captivity. Moses… Not Jesus.”
“Who helped Noah tend to all the animals on the arc during the flood, feeding them and even cleaning up all that poo?”
“Eww! … Jesus!”
“No… No it wasn’t Jesus. Noah’s wife, sons and their wives helped. Jesus wasn’t on the arc.”
Sunday School answers. You see, the kids knew that Jesus was so often the answer I was looking for, that if they didn’t know for sure what I was asking, they answered, “Jesus!”. It’s a pretty good bet, though. Because here’s the truth, Jesus really is the answer to all of our questions. All of the problems and difficulties we face can find their solutions in him. The path to every change we want to make in our lives lies in the person of Jesus.
So as you look to 2015, I hope you will join me in turning your hearts again to the One who can help us make some real and lasting changes in our lives. I know it sounds like a Sunday School answer, but the truth is, Jesus is the answer to our problems, issues, trials, hardships, and unhealthy habits. He came to show us how to live. He came right into the middle of our messes and instead of pointing an accusing finger, he picked up a broom and began sweeping. It is in Jesus that we live, and move and find our being. It is through Jesus that we are made new.