Another year has gone and a new year is upon us. Many people are making New Year’s resolutions only to break them before the end of January. Others are vowing not to make any resolutions so as to avoid breaking them. It seems the older I get the weaker my will power becomes. So what’s a person to do?
The greatest foe to staying resolved is temptation. Many times the temptation we face is not openly destructive or evil. The devil is subtler than that. As my pastor is wont to say, “Satan is the best devil there is.” Temptation can come in good things, keeping us from what is best. So how do we know the difference?
First, with whom do you hang out? Are you running with the wrong company? The Bible gives clear instruction against that:
“Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of evil. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn away from it and pass on.” (Proverbs 4:14-15)
This is an important lesson: you are whom you hang out with. Our former youth pastor once told our youth, “Show me your friends, and I’ll show you what kind of Christian you are.” There is great truth in that and it took me a while to learn it.
So what should you do if you find yourself on “the path of the wicked?” First, if you can, get off of it. Solomon tells us to not walk on it and to avoid it at all cost. But what if you find yourself in the middle of Hell’s party, being tempting in all sorts of ways?
“My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.” (Proverbs 1:10)
Nine simple words that will keep you from breaking any resolution you might have made. If we were honest with ourselves, the great majority of us would admit that we design much of our own trouble.
One of the biggest mistakes we make is assuming upon time. We believe, or at least convince ourselves, that we have all the time in the world to get our act together. We tell ourselves that we’ll clear out all the garbage from our lives after this weekend. I’m just going to have one last fling before I surrender all to Christ. Jesus warned us against such presumption:
“But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly.” (Luke 21:34)
If you are a born-again Christian, you do not have a right to do as you please with your body. You no longer have dominion over your body. You abuse it at the risk of not only your physical health, but also and more importantly your spiritual health. You were bought at a price and you are not free to give into your fleshly desires, even if our free will allows it. It must be overcome.
“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” (Romans 6:12-14)
However, we must not be naïve about the devil’s wiles. He will never give you a break. He will try every trick in his evil book, including some of the same ones that have worked on you before. He is relentless and is hell-bent on bringing you down. Hence the Apostle Paul’s advice:
“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:13)
Lastly, do not believe our walk with Christ here on earth has a destination. We are on a journey; we are sojourners. Therefore, we cannot allow ourselves to believe we’ve arrived at a point in our sanctification that we can let our guards down. We must stay vigilant not only from the devil’s temptations, but also from false teachings that lead us astray. We must stay grounded in the word of God:
“You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:17-18)
So beloved, go ahead and make that New Year’s resolution. However, don’t make one haphazardly. Pray about what God would have you do to grow in righteousness and to become more like Christ.
If you do not know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, there is no better way to begin the Year 2015 than being a new creature in Christ.
Won’t you give your life to Him today: right now?
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Copyright © 2014 David Jeffers