Grace for Your Failed New Years Resolutions

Chances are you probably made a New Years Resolution.  Many this time of year muster the will power to make the next year greater than the one before.  We set ambitious goals for ourselves and chances are many of us have probably already failed at them by now.  Maybe your resolution was to eat healthier but for lunch today you couldn’t help but go through the drive through at McDonalds.  Maybe it was to read Scripture every morning, but you found that this morning you hit the snooze button more times than you’d care to admit. Following through on resolutions can be difficult.  Creating new habits and adjusting our lifestyle can be a rocky road filled with failure. If your like me, you tend to beat yourself up over the failure.  You may berate yourself verbally or fill ridden with guilt.  Failure can often paralyze us and instantly take the wind from our sails.  Chances are if you have not failed yet, you probably will fail at your resolutions at some point.  The key to follow through is resiliency and being able to bounce back from our setbacks.  Here is where the wonderful and radical grace of God can help us in those times where we fail. Thank God our salvation is not died to our performance, even at New Years resolutions.  The grace of God empowers us to bounce back from our failures and shortcomings.

  • The Gospel reminds me that my acceptance before God is not dependent on my performance, but on Christ's. 
  • The Gospel reminds me that God’s love does not increase or decrease depending on completing my resolutions. 
  • The Gospel reminds me that though I may fail miserably, in Christ I’ve been given His great success. 
  • The Gospel reminds me that I’m free from guilt, because Jesus bore the punishment for my sins.

You see the amazing grace of God frees us from the oppressive burden of failure. In Christ we are free to fail and empowered to get back up and try again.  This truth is absolutely liberating. There is no need to sit and wallow in your failures, God’s grace compels you to get back up and try again.

You may have already failed miserably at your resolution.  You might have committed some grievous sin.  You may think of yourself as an incredible failure.  Yet, with God there is no cease to second chances. Remind yourself of the security, the comfort, and love you have in Jesus Christ, then get back up and try again.

Grace for Your New Years Resolutions

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New Year's Resolutions: You either love them or you hate them. If your like me, at this time of year you are filled with past reflection and future hope.

You are looking over the past year and examining your life. "How have I grown spiritually this year?" or "Am I more like Jesus than I was a year ago?". These are great questions to ask. We need to constantly be examine our lives and seeing where we can grow and mature.

You are looking towards the future year as well. "What will this next year bring?" or "What areas of my life need to be changed?" or "What ways will I grow and what ways do I need to repent of sin?". Again, these are all great questions to ask and the end of the year brings these questions to to forefront of our minds. We form our resolutions and our hopes based off of the answers to those questions.

Tomorrow is 2013. You will begin to put those resolutions into practice. Filled with hope and excitement, I'm sure you will start off strong. You will hit the gym every day this week. You will read that book every single day. You will have great success for the first couple weeks. As we all know, starting something new is easy, but finishing is very difficult. We are all great at starting new years resolutions, but we are terrible at finishing them. Let me give you an example.  We all know that the busiest time of year at the gym is in January. Why? Because everyone is starting their resolution, but by the end of the month those resolutions wain and those new people disappear. Each and everyone of us has experienced personal failure like this. Why do we have such a hard time with follow through? Why is change so difficult for us?

I want to provide you with some encouragement to help give wind to the wings of your resolution. It is a simple truth, but I think understanding this will greatly aid us as we make changes to our lives. The simple truth is this:

Whether you succeed or fail in your resolutions, God's love for you does not change.

You see, even though we have put our faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Even though we believe that we are justified by faith and not by works, we still believe that we have to earn God's favor. So often, our twisted motivation for our New Years resolution is some hopeless attempt to make God love us. We think, "If I read my Bible more, then God will really love me" or "If I can start being a more loving spouse, then God will really care about me". So often we are trying to earn God's factor through our actions and through our New Years resolutions.

Here is the good news, God's love for you will not change depending on your behavior. Your standing before God has absolutely nothing to do with your ability to keep New Years resolutions! Your worth, your righteousness, and your hope is intricately tied to your union with Christ! As the Scripture says, "Even while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom 5:8). Even when we fail miserably, God's love for us doesn't change. God loved you at your worst. He loved you when you couldn't sink any lower, and his love towards you is just as extravagant whether you keep your New Years Resolution or not.

There is that dose of grace to help you in your New Years Resolution. Work hard and make sacrificial changes so that you can ben more like your Lord Jesus. Make those resolutions and do your best to keep them. However, even when we fail or fall short, God's grace enables us to get back up and try again. His merciful unconditional love for us empowers us for change.

What are your New Years resolutions? Have you had success in keeping them in the past? Why or why not? Share with us in the comments!