EDITOR’S NOTE: Crosswalk will proudly present one New Year’s-themed devotional per day during a season running from the day after Christmas through the first three weeks of January. Check back every day for a new devotional reflection about fresh starts, resolutions, growth and change, featuring the God who makes all things new. And Happy New Year!
Resolutions and Redemption
by Anna Kuta
“For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
It’s that time of year again! I’m talking about New Year’s resolutions, of course. It’s still December as I’m writing, but I guarantee that by the time you read this, I’ll already be asking myself what possessed me to come up with such grand, unattainable plans the new year. (It seemed like a good idea at the time). Every year I tell myself it’ll finally be the year I keep all my resolutions. I mean, come on – how hard can it possibly be to finally set aside an hour for exercise each day, to stop consuming so much chocolate and coffee, and to never sleep for less than eight hours again?
Why are New Year’s resolutions so hard to keep? I don’t know, but it’s a lot like another area of life. Let me explain.
Before I became a Christian at the age of 17, I approached my life the same way I often approach New Year’s resolutions. I would try so hard to do the right things but I always ended up falling flat. I convinced myself that as long as I was the “good girl,” I’d be fine, so I tried really hard to live up to certain standards to please everyone, and hopefully God too. The problem, though, is that there’s nothing anyone can do in his or her own power to “earn” God’s favor.
As Ephesians 2:8 says, it’s by God’s grace that we are saved, not because of anything we could ever hope to attain or accomplish. God’s gift of His son Jesus Christ to save us from our sins through His death and resurrection is just that – a gift. Doing all the good, noble things in the world will never earn salvation, and like verse 9 says, nobody could ever think of boasting about such an undeserved gift.
Of course, the desire to do the right things is one result of making Jesus the Lord of your life, but we all continue to mess up because, after all, we are just sinners saved by grace. I still lose sight of it all sometimes and get caught up in the cycle of trying to “out-good” myself and others. This new year, however, in light of any New Year’s resolutions you may have made (or already broken), join me in remembering the assurance of one thing we never have to work to attain: God’s grace.
Intersecting Faith & Life: It’s hard to live up to New Year’s resolutions, but it’s impossible to earn God’s favor through good works or noble aspirations. This year, realize and thank God anew for the gift of His grace and salvation through Jesus.
2 Timothy 1:8-10