My ways…

…are higher declares the Lord Isaiah 55:8-9

Another New Year….

before me.  The slate is clean.  The calendar has been changed out.   I’ve always like January. December’s calendar is crammed full of work,  and lots of holiday activities.  Changing the calendar to January is a great feeling.  All the little boxes on the calendar are mostly empty.  ahhhhhh.

This time of year also brings the inevitable “resolutions” to mind.  You know, lose weight, get out of debt, spend more time with your kids, sleep more..blah, blah, blah.  I cringe at making resolutions.  I want to be better but I can’t. I need help. Failure looms.

The Apostle Paul talked about the same struggle in his letter to the church in Rome: “I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.” (Romans 7:18-19).  Hmmmm, I do believe Paul struggled with this resolving/failure thing too.

Being aware of my sin and a determination to get rid of it are,  I believe, two important components in my sanctification.  But they are not enough; by themselves, they will never get me there.  What I need is not mere resolutions but a new heart.

Thankfully, God is an expert in heart surgery. I believe He begins His surgery the moment we first come to Him in repentance.  I also believe we need to continue to humbly submit to Him in order for His Spirit to be able to continue the work of sanctification in us.  This is wonderful, encouraging news!

2013 found me with the new title of Widow, only 9 months old.  The new year stretching out before me then, seemed forever long.   It’s hard to believe that 2013 is behind me now.  I’m glad. And the good thing?  I’m not dreading 2014.  I still have the title of Widow.  I’m still not used to it.  I still don’t like it, but here I am.    There’s a lot of hopeful plans for this new year for me.  But experience reminds me that my life is not my own.  Experience reminds me that my heart belongs to the Lord to change.  This gives me hope, because He is faithful.

So my prayer as we approach the turn of another year is not so much that God will help me keep my resolutions but that I would join with David in asking God for the help I really need:

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

(Psalm 51:10)

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