For years I was nowhere near God, self-righteous, full of anger, undeserving of any reward. Yet through the riches of His grace, I was found, revived and delivered. It was all God, not a 50/50 transaction, 100% from Him. He found me.
That’s probably your story too.
Unfortunately, the tendency over time is to add on new resolutions or the latest self-effort to be right with God. These “bootstrap” self-help methods give a sense of, “I did it, I made it,” and subconsciously we wonder, “Who needs God if we can do it ourselves?”
I have to remind myself that it was by grace that I was saved and by that same grace I can continue and make progress in my walk with God.
In an egregious manner, the Church of Galatia forgot this. The grace of God was no longer their confidence, replaced by their own rules and regulations. For their “bootstrap” method of Christianity, Paul reprimanded them,
“Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?”
If you’re like me, we can often feel undeserving, unworthy, un–useful and a lot of other “uns.” Yet that’s precisely where we discover His grace. We are not accepted without this grace and cannot move forward without it.
Our good efforts satisfy no one, except perhaps our ego. At our weakest moments, we are awakened by the simple reality of God’s unflinching love for us. It is grace that is available and sufficient.
My New Years resolution is really no different from what I hope, believe and expect every day: I’m resolved to live in His grace. Resolved to receive from Him on the basis of who He is, not who I am. Resolved to quit punishing myself with my own negative thoughts. Resolved to receive what He has for me, not a recipient by my own limited expectation, budget, or sense of what I deserve.
The best way to start a New Year is simple. Go back to (grab hold of) the future. Start where you did the day you met Jesus. Kneel down and acknowledge your weaknesses and shortcomings, then rise up and know that He’s got you… and your future. He will do exceedingly abundantly above and beyond what you can ask. Stop thinking, “I’m not worthy,” because it’s not about us anyway.
The Christian life is all about what He wants to do for us. It’s His love. His grace that is so much easier than measuring what we deserve based on our checklist of righteousness.
Happy New Year! May your trip back to your beginning lead you into a great future of hope and endless possibilities.