*This month I’m focusing on Rest – what it is, what it’s not, what it looks like in our life, how we work it into the fabric of our anxious hearts.
The eagerness of December 31 gives way to the demands of January 1 – demands of resolutions, commitments, and hopeful fresh starts. The New Year begins the pressing in of responsibilities and the fear of failing on yet another year fraught with high expectations.
The perfectionist in me can’t take the anxiety of such certain failures. All my good intentions to be better (…than last year, than my neighbor…), just end up burying me in shame as they come crashing down – about the third week of January. So I avoid making resolutions, at least consciously.
But resolutions still resonate in the empty areas of my heart, those hidden chambers that secretly promote a personal agenda of progress and improvement. And thus, a sense of doom clouds the joy of the Spirit.
Sometimes a resolution is no more than legalism in disguise. Resolutions dress up as Good Ideas, but when we strip away the masquerade, we find Old Covenant Law snarling at us. If God’s people couldn’t fulfill the Law originally, when the miracle of the Red Sea was directly in their rearview mirror, we won’t be able to fulfill it today, either.
Instead of resolutions, how about this year we try new mercies.
“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his mercies never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:21-23
How can we receive new mercies each morning of 2013 when our days are laden with new sin?
“…because of the LORD’s great love…” And what is this love? “Greater love has no one than this: that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). And what did Christ do? “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
What if we celebrated new mercies like we celebrated the New Year? What if we waited with anticipation every evening for the dawning of a new day and the surety of those promised mercies? Let’s consider every night this year a spiritual December 31 – an ending followed by a new beginning the other side of midnight. Let’s celebrate every night with a midnight kiss, the seal of heavenly grace. Let’s rest our ruthless resolutions in the solidness of His faithfulness. Let’s take respite in the love of God that guarantees new mercies.
Happy New Mercies!