Originally published Monday, 29 December 2014.
Lose weight. Work out. Be patient. Act kind. Grow closer to God. Stop a bad habit.
We all want to be better, act better and do better - but often our well-intentioned resolutions - end up as New Year illusions, leaving us tied up in confusion. We wonder where we went wrong? How we dropped the ball?
Many times, it's easier to altogether avoid New Year claims then to deal with the fear of their pending shame.
But, Christ doesn't model stagnant living.
And, he certainly doesn't call us to avoid improving because we fear losing.
So, how can we truly change?
In my mind, I want to change, but my heart fears that I can't. I fear I'll drop the ball. I fear that my dreams will become just that - dreams - unattainable distant images. So I put up a facade of indifference because I fear that I will let God and myself down down.
Yet, the Lord doesn't remain silent when truth needs to be grasped. And, in his always-faithful way, he answers saying, "Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem, a firm and tested stone. It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on. Whoever believes need never be shaken." (Is. 28:16)
And, it's just this cornerstone that makes all the difference. It's this stone that holds it all together. It's the foundation. The stone that prevents everything from falling.
It's the stone that holds me together. It's the stone that will be my foundation. It's the stone that cements all resolutions. The one that allows the entire structure to stand firm. The one that we can build upon safely. The cornerstone - Christ Jesus.
What is the foundation of your resolutions? Is it your own work? Your own might? Your own strength?
Or, do you rely on the stone that will never let you be put to shame (1 Peter 2:6)?
The stone that let's hard work stand.
Because the truth is, without Christ, all resolutions will disintegrate.
By ourselves, we will crack, chip and crumble.
In our own strength, we'll build foundations of quicksand.
Quicksand that will swallow up all our well-intentioned efforts.
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. (1 Cor. 3:11)
Many of my own works, desires and New Year pursuits have been built on my own goals, ideas and dreams - rather than the foundation of the Lord. In this, they were almost all destined to fail.
This year, my resolutions will be built upon a firm foundation. A foundation that is completely reliant on the chief cornerstone. A foundation of intentions that are derived from him, focused on him and rooted in my trust of him.
Because if they aren't - all resolutions will quake to the floor - and the only resolution that I will be left with is a resolution to clean up a mess of well-intentioned goals.
Christ changes it all though. With Christ as a foundation, our buildings are secure, established and indestructible. Yet, without him, our work is in vain.
"Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain." (Ps. 127:1)
We can safely build upon the cornerstone, by seeking the will of the cornerstone - Christ Jesus - in our lives. We can safely build upon the cornerstone by submitting ourselves to his work. We can safely build upon the cornerstone by asking for his help daily. We can safely build upon the cornerstone by embracing his grace when we start to slip.
Then, at the end of the day - when we gaze at the Lord's work, we will marvel at it's beauty. Rightfully and naturally, all glory and honor will go to him - the master carpenter, who builds in perfection. It won't be vain or about our glory - or our demise - but it will be all about the ultimate builder. The one who builds beauty, holiness and eternal structures of significance.