The first month of this new year will soon be history, and so will some of our New Year resolutions.
Now, I do believe we can accomplish a lot with good old-fashioned grit and determination. We can resolve to exercise more discipline in our lives in order to:
- Lose pounds
- Add muscle
- Save money
- Read more widely
- De-clutter our houses
- Reprioritize our schedules
- Commit to new activities
- and much more
But when it comes to internal transformation—real heart change—this is what I have discovered
Resolve has its limitations.
I have to relearn that lesson whenever I find myself addressing my need for heart change with redoubled self-effort and renewed self-determination.
It happens like this. When I see that I need to become a better person, that I need to love people better, sometimes my inner Captain Resolve steps in and confidently says, “Stand back, God, because I’ve got this!”
For a while, in my foolish zeal, I actually convince myself that I’m pulling it off, that I am really changing myself for the better. Then Mr. Hyde shows up and I’m shocked. “Who is that and where did he come from?”
It’s only when I realize that I am exhausted from my super-heroic self-effort that Captain Resolve dissolves into a puddle of sweat.
Then, very gently and quietly, the Spirit asks, “Are you finished?”
I answer, “Yes. That’s all I’ve got.”
The good news is, when I arrive at the end of my self-effort, I find that I’m in the best place I could possibly be.
Now I am ready to listen.
Now I am ready to receive.
Now I’m ready to rely.
Now I am ready to trust.
Now I remember that change occurs when I fix my attention on a Person, not when I fixate on personal change.
As we remain attentive to God’s voice, receptive to His will, and cooperative with His Spirit, we are transformed by God Himself into the people He is re-creating us to be
Resolved: to live in relational dependency upon God
When has Captain Resolve been your spiritual not-so-superhero?