How have you done in keeping your New Year’s resolutions? A recent study concludes that fewer of us even make such resolutions anymore and that most who do report dwindling success in keeping them.
Even if we do not make formal resolutions, most of us spend some time looking ahead with serious thoughts about things we might like to change in our lives.
We may think about behaviors, bad habits, goals and/or self disciplines we would like to gain. What have you thought about such things?
It helps me to return to the words of the Apostle Paul given to us in the seventh chapter of the book of Romans. In them, Paul allowed us to eavesdrop on his own struggles with self-control and self-discipline. In his desire to live a godly life Paul recognizes his natural human weaknesses.
Perhaps Paul remembered that Jesus had said: “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” (Mark 11:38). Paul sees the negative force of evil in the world and within our own human nature that continues to threaten to undo us.
“For I have the desire to do good but I cannot carry it out!” Paul said. (Romans 7:18.)
“For what I do is not the good I want but the evil I do not want to do.” (verse 19). Do we not sometimes feel that way when we think carefully about how we are living our lives?
I invite you to revisit Paul by reading Romans 7:14-25.
“Wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through our Lord, Jesus Christ.” (Romans 7:24-25)
Our only real hope for spiritual growth and maturity lies in an ongoing daily quest for an ever deeper, more intimate relationship with Christ through active faith. I pray a realization of this blessed hope for you as for myself!
The Rev. Dr. G. Daniel McCall is minister-emeritus of Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church.