The tradition of new year resolutions originated in the Babylonian custom of making promises to their gods, at the start of the new year, to return borrowed objects and pay off their debts. Even today, many of us approach the new year with fresh determination to do better in all kinds of ways. Statistics tell us that 80% of new year resolutions are broken by February.
I thought about this recently when I read a disconcerting statement thrown out by Oswald Chambers to his theological students, “Get alone with [Yahshua]” he declared, “and either tell Him that you do not want sin to die out in you; or else tell Him that at all costs you want to be identified with His death.” Startling as this may sound, it is, nonetheless, echoed throughout scripture. Spiritual people are challenged to die! [Romans 8:13; Galatians 2:20]. The ‘old man’ in us must be ‘crucified’ with Yahshua [Romans 6:6]; totally identified with His death.
There is a wonderful, breath-taking thrill in the realisation that Yahshua ‘died for me’; accepting that sacrifice with repentance and gratitude is life-changing. Often there are days, sometimes even weeks or months, of euphoria; enjoy! Inevitably, we will discover that life with Yahshua is not a constant state of blissful ecstasy, but this never was the purpose of our introduction to Him and His Kingdom. Relationship is key, and I believe this includes an identification with the cross, a dying out to self that empowers total obedience to the Master, and begets a willing heart that, even in extremity, will be able to cry, “Nevertheless, not my will but yours be done.” [Luke 22:42]. Not what I want, but what He wants! Yahshua’s Gethsemane submission to His Father’s will, despite the agony He experienced, was based on a lifetime of obedience and surrender.
Don’t be enticed into a Babylonish new year resolution but do consider a pact with Yahshua to be identified with His death! Paul writes that when we die our life is then hidden, with Yahshua, in Yahweh. [see Colossians 3:3]. In the tumultuous times in which we live, surely this must be the safest, most secure place in all the world!