Resolution or repentance?


It’s that time of year, AGAIN! It is time to decide if we will try again to work on becoming “better.”
Every year, I join thousands of others in making New Year’s resolutions. I’m sad to report that my attempts at initiating improvements and change is often, while well-intentioned, short-lived.
Like an overwhelming majority of folks, I really want to do better. I want to exercise more, lose weight, quit bad habits, get organized, save money, write a book, learn a new skill, go to church more, read through the whole Bible, pray more, watch less television, volunteer more, and spend more time with family and friends. Am I the only one needing and seeking improvement?
Typically, I will shorten the list, narrowing it down to two or three things that “I really need and want to do.” Sometimes I even come up with an action plan for my resolutions.  If I am “really” serious, I will ask someone that I trust to help hold me “accountable.”  All too often, if no one holds me accountable, by the middle of January or February, I find myself drifting back into my old routines and patterns.  It is HARD TO CHANGE!
The Bible has a lot to say about change. From Genesis to Revelations, the entire Bible focuses on transformation and change. The core message of the gospel (good news) is that change is not only desirable, but it is an essential requirement for experiencing personal spiritual transformation.
Real change begins when we repent. The Hebrew word for repent is teshuva (pronounced “teh-shoo-vah”). Teshuva is much more than feeling sorry or being remorseful, it is a decision to change directions. It is deciding to turn away from where you are headed and turning back toward God. To repent means to rearrange your entire way of thinking, feeling, and acting to abandon that which is wrong.
The Bible says that all of us have broken God’s laws and need forgiveness and restoration. Jesus came preaching the message of repentance and offering the opportunity for each of us to have a new beginning through faith in him. Change is not only possible, but it is necessary for all followers of Jesus Christ.
Jesus enables us to experience transformation and change in every area of our lives. The resolutions that I have been successful in achieving and keeping have all been rooted and grounded in my walk with Jesus Christ. As I prepare for another New Year, I celebrate the fact that because of God’s grace, I have the opportunity for improvement and continual renewal. I can begin again!
Because of my relationship with Jesus Christ every area of my life can be open to and should experience improvement. Any area of my life that does not measure up to the statue and fullness of Jesus Christ is an area ripe for repentance and directional change. Areas that are not in conformity to the will and way of Jesus Christ are places where repentance and resolution are required.
My hope for this New Year is that I will become more and more like Jesus. As I select one or two areas to be the focus for my personal resolutions, my constant prayer is that I will conform to the image and likeness of Jesus Christ.
The brothers of Joseph, the Judean wilderness followers of John the Baptist, the prodigal son, and the followers of Jesus were all encouraged to make a new start through the act of repentance.  When we confess our sins, God forgives us and grants to each a new start. There is nothing that God cannot restore and make whole.
Resolutions, when submitted to Jesus Christ through confession and acts of repentance, can assist us in achieving our goals towards becoming better. My prayer for you and for myself is that Jesus will help us in our quest to become more Christlike in every area of life.
Happy New Year!
God Bless
Bishop Beard