Resolutions, restarts and redemption - by Tim Douglass

Here it comes, January 1st, the new year. A time when we all look back and assess our year and how we’ve faired against all the resolutions and new initiatives we told ourselves that we would finally nail in 2018.

In recent years I’ve committed to new fitness and healthy eating regimes, full of confidence and resolve that ‘this year will be my year!’ But if you’re anything like me (and 99% of people) we start out strong, but by the 2nd week of January, (ok ok the first week of January) we have a new internal mantra – ‘I’ll go next week’.. a week that rarely actually happens.

The big problem with resolutions is that no matter how many times we play the ‘new year, new opportunity, it’s going to be different this year’ game, eventually things default back to who we really are. Not the social media projected self, but who we really are, the good, the bad and the ugly.

Now I should admit that this year, even though I’ve failed pretty much every year at seeing my resolutions through, I will still have another crack. So I’m not saying that I’m against them, they’re just not always that effective. I want to suggest that there is a much better way forward.

When we get to our absolute low points, the ones we hope will never end up on a social media feed somewhere for people to see. There is one who sees us there. Yep, God sees us, He always does and there is no running, hiding or covering that gets us away from that fact. He knows all too well what happens when we are at those low moments, but the great news is that he knows how to fix them (and let me tell you it’s no new year resolution).

It’s called Redemption. Beautiful, powerful and grace filled redemption.

The idea is as profound as it is simple; Our mess, in exchange for His grace. And what a remarkable grace it is, unlimited, immeasurable, unmerited and immovable!

And yet, so often we fall into the trap that Adam and Eve first did. We tell ourselves that If I can just fix this myself all will be fine. It’s what Adam & Eve did when they ate the fruit they weren’t meant to and became aware of their nakedness. They ‘sewed fig leaves for themselves’. It’s a pattern of behaviour we continue to repeat to this day.

“Oh no I’ve made a mess of things, quick I better clean it up before anyone notices.” The problem with this is that it’s never really cleaned up and it’s never really fixed when we try to do it in our own strength. So we find ourselves longing for a restart, a chance to try again. But it’s not a restart that we need.

If we needed a restart, God would have sent one of those science fiction technology devices that erases your memory for you. But He didn’t, he sent Jesus. Jesus who came full of Grace and truth (John 1).

God knows that redemption is much more powerful, effective and beneficial than any restart or resolution ever will ever be!

Resolutions are about what we want to do, redemption is about what God has already done.

With Jesus, whatever has transpired in your 2018 has the potential to become a powerful message of Gods grace and power at work. With God, even the darkest moments and our mess can become a beacon of hope to others who need to see that if God can do that for you, He can do it for them.

I don’t think God is after a sterile church, but he does want one without blemish. And that can only come from us giving everything over to Him,not trying to hide it or fix it ourselves.

So as 12:00AM, January 1st comes rushing to us all again. Please, don’t run from your mess, don’t long for a restart, or even try to hide it from him. Rather, bring it to Him and watch what the power of Grace and Truth will do.

Decide that enough is enough for some of those dark areas that have been hidden for way too long and bring them to His light. He isn’t in the business of shaming, but He does a great job of saving.

So let Him, let Jesus redeem and restore and watch the greatest year unfold in 2019.

Happy New Year.
Tim