TruthInvestigate

“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The true New Year’s Resolution

New Year’s resolutions have gotten a bad rap over the years. As most of us know, they don’t stick like we plan for them to. Yet, we keep trying. Others have totally given up on such a gimmick for personal change, and have descended into some kind of murky moral morass. Their life only worsens.

So we are stuck between a rock and a hard place. If we resolve to better ourselves, we fail and remain unchanged in our vices. If we give up resolving at all and just let things go, our vices take greater control of us. What can we do in this moral quick sand that surely will submerge us? A favorite motivational book says this:

Everything depends on the right action of the will.

What’s important is not so much what evil to give up, as it is our method to make it go away. We must first understand how the human will works and doesn’t work. Then we can make proper choices and resolutions.

In the context of the same favorite book above we have this statement:

You are weak in moral power…Your promises and resolutions are like ropes of sand. You cannot control your thoughts, your impulses, your affections. The knowledge of your broken promises and forfeited pledges weakens your confidence in your own sincerity.

Sound familiar? Doesn’t this match the common human experience? It resembles another person’s outrageous dismay, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” In light of destructive vices, does life seem like death, as the previous person honestly described his life as “this death”?

Another question dealing with New Year resolutions is: Why is it so much easier to resolve to do bad than to do good? Why are we so quick to choose food and practices that destroy us and those we love and need, and find it so difficult to choose those things that are good for us and our loved ones?

The wretched man we quoted who called out for deliverance had said the same things two millenniums ago. “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.” “For to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.” So nothing has changed about the human nature over the past 2,000 years. Does that mean we are a hopeless case?

Not at all. This “wretched” person was the amazing apostle Paul, wrestling with himself. So how did he fare? Was he a winner or a loser in his own personal battles? The suspense is killing me!

Well, we know the end of the story—he turned out to be a top-notch powerhouse of a man! So how did he do that? I’ve got to know! What was his secret formula? What was his powerful, secret weapon against his wicked, weak human nature?

His secret weapon was a lesson in the inherent weakness of the human will. What he realized in the end was that he didn’t have the power at all to do good. And he accepted that. But, rather than just give up on the whole idea of changing, and allowing sin to have free reign in him, he continued wrestling until some divine guidance came through for him. And what he discovered was that if he allies himself with Christ, a living example of perfect good, then and only then could Paul overcome his clamorings of self.

It was only by having a Mentor, a person, a warm body with warm feelings toward Paul, someone who would be patient and merciful, that he would be enabled to conform his life to his perfect Exemplifier in the heavens. What Paul needed was someone of perfection with whom he could identify, someone who had walked more than every mile in Paul’s moccasins, who had endured the very same trials and temptations as Paul had.

The law alone couldn’t do that, or rather, we couldn’t conceive of it. We couldn’t reconcile ourselves to the demands of the law alone, because the human race had lost its concept of a warm God behind His majestic Law. But Christ came and supplied what we had thrown away. The Godhead went way out of the way to help us in our self-made destitution. They gave us a second ability to obey and find the escape from the desolation sin is causing us. And certainly, sin is wreaking great havoc on the world today.

What is the right action of the will? It is to choose the remedy God has given; that is, to saddle up to Jesus and let His righteousness take the place of the Law’s righteousness. He showed a mercy toward people that we can recognize, whereas the Law’s mercy we couldn’t detect. It was just requirements, just precepts; it was just words.

“Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid.” (Rom. 7:12,13). Let us neither condemn God’s Law for its overpowering effect on us, nor let us think we can ever measure up to it. Rather, let us go to Jesus, the Law-giver and Law-exemplifier, and find in a person the way to keep the Law. Let this be our one and only New Year’s resolution. Then His merciful admonitions will break our hearts and reconcile us to His Father’s Law. And then we will be just and the beneficiaries of great health in body and mind, and of His prosperity.

Instead of using our will the wrong way, “This will I do: I will…” (Lk. 12:18), let our New Year’s resolution be, “I will arise and go to my Father, and will say unto Him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before Thee. And am no more worthy to be called Thy son: make me as one of Thy hired servants.” (Lk. 15:18,19).

Many are inquiring, “How am I to make the surrender of myself to God?” You desire to give yourself to Him, but you are weak in moral power, in slavery to doubt, and controlled by the habits of your life of sin. Your promises and resolutions are like ropes of sand. You cannot control your thoughts, your impulses, your affections. The knowledge of your broken promises and forfeited pledges weakens your confidence in your own sincerity, and causes you to feel that God cannot accept you; but you need not despair. What you need to understand is the true force of the will. This is the governing power in the nature of man, the power of decision, or of choice. Everything depends on the right action of the will. The power of choice God has given to men; it is theirs to exercise. You cannot change your heart, you cannot of yourself give to God its affections; but you can choose to serve Him. You can give Him your will; He will then work in you to will and to do according to His good pleasure. Thus your whole nature will be brought under the control of the Spirit of Christ; your affections will be centered upon Him, your thoughts will be in harmony with Him. Steps to Christ, p. 47.

Here is the victory over self: our love and faith in Jesus which gives us the love and faith of Jesus. And this is the power of God unto salvation.

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