I have stopped making New Year’s resolutions. Maybe it’s the pessimist in me. But in years past, without fail, whenever I have resolved to do better, act better, eat better, exercise better, parent better, communicate better — it doesn’t end well. Honestly, I feel like resolutions just set me up for failure. I am done with resolutions. What I need are real solutions.
Here’s the deal. Resolutions can never really help any of us. And here’s why. They are by definition rooted in human striving. And who among us is perfect? None of us. We cannot achieve in our own strength the goals that we set for ourselves. But I have found a better way. I have found a real solution!
The real solution to any and all of our issues is a person. His name is Jesus Christ. Wait! Don’t stop reading!!!! You were waiting for something more earth-shattering weren’t you? More revolutionary? More epic? Well Jesus is as epic as they come. He was a revolutionary. When He was here on earth claiming to be the Messiah, there weren’t many who could wrap their brains around it. Most people mocked Him. Most people shook their heads in disbelief. And in the end, the people crucified Him for claiming to be the Son of God. So while it may seem at first to be overly simplistic to say that Jesus is the real solution we are all looking for, let’s consider Jesus’s own words.
He is quoted as saying, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
If you have a problem, He is the way to fix it. He is the solution. Not a re-solution, but THE solution. He Himself. You will not find answers in platitudes or creeds or catechisms, but in Christ alone. The solutions we are all seeking are found in His very presence. No matter what you need, He can meet it. No matter what your prescription, He can fill it. No matter your addiction, He can overcome it. No matter your grief, He can soothe it. No matter your darkness, He can illuminate it. No matter your confusion, He can clarify it. Jesus Christ claims to be what you are searching for. Do you believe this? Do I believe this?
But whatever we do . . . WE MUST NOT TRY TO BE LIKE JESUS!
Here is the big secret — the thing I have been dying to share with you — you ready?????
****Don’t try to be like Jesus. Just be WITH Jesus!****
Trying to be like Jesus is too exhausting. We are all bound to fail. This goes back to the resolution thing. If you are like me, you’ve pulled yourself up by your bootstraps time after time only to trip and fall again. It’s so demoralizing —
TRY —> FAIL —> TRY—> FAIL —> TRY —> FAIL —> TRY —> FAIL
Besides, when we fall into a performance mentality (even with something as great as trying to be like Jesus), we spurn God’s grace. Titus 3:5-6 are a couple of amazing verses. Do you know what they say? “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior . . . .”
So instead of trying to be like Jesus, I’ve determined to just be WITH HIM. Hang with Him. Abide with Him. By simply being intentional about being in His presence, I’ve found that what I was TRYING to do, just started to naturally happen. I was becoming more like the Person I was hanging out with. But sort of by accident. By osmosis. We all know it’s true. We become like the people we associate with, the people we commune with. I want to be intentional about communing with Jesus.
So time to get practical. What do you say, we all get up 30 minutes earlier each day– (just 30 minutes y’all!) — throw on a robe, go downstairs and put the coffee on, go back up and brush our teeth, then go to our special chair with our Bible and coffee, and just sit with Jesus. Cultivate the friendship like you would with a girlfriend. No agenda. No Bible-reading schedule. In fact, this shouldn’t be your Bible-reading time. If He prompts you to open it up, then do, but really just feel the sweetness of His love for you. Rest in His cozy presence. He loves you so much. He is Emmanuel — He is with you — and you are with Him.