This is My Year!

This devotional is written by Matt Coombs.
Happy New Year!

January is a convenient time to have a go at self-actualisation. It’s the time of year to make a list of life-changing ultimatums that will allow you to become the ‘new-you’ the ‘real-you’. You know the person you always intended to be before the ‘you-you’ turned up and ruined everything. 

Perhaps you’ve got a resolution for 2023. Perhaps you’ve chosen to go fat-free, debt-free, fag-free, meat-free, sugar-free, carb-free, caffeine-free, venti-cream-frappuccino-free, ex-boyfriend-free, no-boyfriend-free, Netflix-free, drug-free, porn-free, giving-your-numbers-out-to-strangers-free, forgetting-to-return-your-mums-phone-calls-free.

New years resolutions are all well and good, don’t get me wrong. Deciding to give things up that are bad and take up things that are good is a good thing. But doesn’t our love-hate relationship with new years resolutions speak of something different? Don't we all want to be a little bit better so we can be a little bit happier? If only I was thinner, or richer, or beautifuler, or famouser, or successfuler, or popular-er, or intelligenter - then I’ll be happier. 

The problem with self-improvement is that we all eventually fail to one degree or another and end up feeling even more inferior than before. 

Genuine change is difficult.

So we’re left with this, we love to self improve, we’ll enthusiastically try to do it, but the problem with self-improvement is the self bit. We’re just not very good at it.

We need help.

The apostle Paul says this to the church in Galatia.

Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? (Galatians 3:3)

Paul is speaking about these Christians who came to faith through the Spirit, who have begun to be transformed into the character of Christ by the Spirit, and have now given up on that are trying to do it in their own strength. 

It is obviously important to cooperate with what God is doing, but let’s not forget that transformation is firstly and foremostly God’s work.

Go for change. Go for resolutions. Pursue godliness. But know it’s not all on you to do it. Invite the Spirit into the areas that you want to be different.

And finally, for those us (all of us!) who will eventually fail at changing on our own. 

Know this - And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)

Even if you can’t tell and the process is too slow - the transformation has begun.
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