Water aerobics is my choice exercise program. While breathlessly working out in the deep water, my gaze focused upon the white board trivia fact of the day:
“The first New Year’s Resolutions began with the Ancient Babylonians making promises to their gods to pay their debts and returned borrowed objects!”
Later, at home I googled Wikipedia I learned that the Romans made promises to the god Janus, and in the Medieval era, knights took the “Peacock Vow.” Whaaaat?!
Yup – a vow to re-affirm their commitment to chivalry! What that has to do with Peacocks I am sure I do not know!
The most popular Resolution of modern day, is……You guessed it! …. to lose weight…go on a diet and join a gym in the process.
As I struggled to keep my legs kicking to the beat of the music – water resistance fighting me….I wondered. Even in Babylonian times, I wondered how long New Year Resolutions lasted. All of us have good intentions, but most Resolutions do not last but a few weeks. A few months if one is lucky.
And the “If you Give A Mouse a Cookie” story line came to mind.
I think I would title a new book called, “If you give a Resolution a Name” And it would go like this:
If you give a Resolution a Name, you will surely fail. You will try real hard and have every good intention to fulfill your resolve. But, most likely you will fall short. Lose impetus. Be distracted from it. And quite simply, you will fail.
Why? Because we all lack perfect self control. No matter what your Resolution is: be it to lose weight, go to the gym, master a new instrument, be more generous, stop eating sugar, pay off all your debt, or be more chivalrous (!)….it ALL takes an enormous amount of self control in order to follow through. And, to be frank, we all lack self control. Self Control is a supernatural gift. Scripture says it is a fruit of the Spirit.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22 – 23
So IF you want to be true to your Resolution, you need self control. And to gain self control, you need to ask for the Holy Spirit’s fruit.
Now, the Holy Spirit cannot be bought. It cannot be ordered. It can only be given.
And so, I began to think: Thank you LORD for leaving us the Holy Spirit. Because the only way we even have access to the Holy Spirit is because Jesus left the earth. It was His gracious giving that He gave us the Holy Spirit in his stead. (John 16:5 – 7)
And so, I began to think some more: Thank You Jesus for leaving. For dying on the cross. For coming. For being born. Christmas. Here we are, just days after that celebration.
Ab work began with the “rowing the boat” motion and water was splashing everywhere….and my mind kept on.
Why did Jesus come anyway?
Because we lacked. We failed. We fell short. Right from the very beginning of history, mankind lacked self control. Eve ate what she was forbidden to eat. She lacked self control to do what was right. Adam lacked in watching over her. (Genesis 3:6)
BUT, God had a plan. Jesus. Only Jesus could fill the void, cover the lack, and redeem our failure. Our sin nature – our weakness to give in to temptation – our bent toward failing to fulfill even what we know and desire to do as right.
“He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.” Galatians 3:14
So…. If you want to give a Resolution a Name….
You need to acknowledge God as Almighty Creator, Sovereign Master.
You then need to understand your condition and your need for a Savior; His name is Jesus. Forgiveness is for everyone.
You need to believe, confess your sin, and ask Jesus into your heart. When you do this, the Holy Spirit will fill you full.
Having access to the Holy Spirit, you need to ask for help with self control. The power of the Holy Spirit will give it to you. Lasting Self Control is a supernatural gift.
So, if you have self control powered not by your own will and fortitude…..but powered by the Holy Spirit, your New Year’s Resolution has a chance to be fulfilled.
If you give your Resolution a Name, then you must turn to God. Turn to Jesus. And pray for the Holy Spirit’s gifting of self control.
So, what is your New Year Resolution? Did you give it a name? Was it a Peacock Vow?
Whatever it is, may you be blessed with a deeper understanding of God and all that He has for you in this New Year, 2014.
Be Filled with the Holy Spirit, dear friend.
“… Instead, be filled with the Spirit,” Ephesians 5:18