How Not to Approach 2022

“Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ… After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?” (Gal. 3:2-3, NET)

If you’re like me, you’ve been inundated by messages about how to start the new year out right. Many of us are telling ourselves, this year, I’m going to do it. I’m going to lose the weight. I’m going to take better care of myself. I’m going to work on my anger problem. I’m going to get more consistent taking my vitamins. I’m going to improve my skill set. I’m going to start working out. I’m going to be a more dedicated Christian. I’m going to adopt healthier eating habits. I’m going to be a more patient parent and a more loving spouse. I’m going to take the class. I’m going to better myself.

When 2021 was starting, what did you tell yourself? How about 2020? I lovingly am wondering, how has that been working for you?

Again, if you’re like me, you’ve no doubt run into a wall time and time again when it comes to “self-improvement.” The truth is, God never intended for you and me to better ourselves. He intended for us to let Him be in charge of the home improvement projects on His chosen habitation: you and me.

Look at the Galatians passage above. Holy Spirit is asking us a question. How did you get saved? Did you save yourself from hell? No? Well then, if you were utterly dependent on Me at the outset, dear child, what makes you think you can make it the rest of the way by pulling yourself up by your boot straps?

Human effort is so limited. Yes, God needs our will to be entirely submitted to His, in order to fully work His extraordinary transformation in our lives. However, our will is not the power source of said transformation. He is the power source. He is the Author and Finisher. He is the Initiator and Completer. He is the Alpha and Omega. He is the One who will perfect the good work He began in you.

The philosophy of humanism, which directly contradicts this truth, is pervasive in our culture. The American Humanist Association (AHA) defines it as, “a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism and other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity”* (bold emphasis mine). In other words, it’s the belief that humans can perfect themselves, without God’s help. It makes men and women their own god. The AHA’s motto is “Good Without God.”

This message is one of the devil’s means of stealing from God’s children, to the degree that we let it subtly creep into our thinking. “If I can just pull it together in this area, God will be happy with me.” “If I just pray more fervently…” “If I just witness more faithfully to my coworkers…” “if I just try harder…”

No. God created us to be utterly, entirely dependent on Him for life… and breath… and growth… and transformation… and fruit bearing… and absolutely everything! Jesus became a human to model for us exactly us how to do this. So Jesus explained, ‘I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does’” (John 5:19, NLT, bold emphasis mine).

Here’s how it works: He initiates, you respond. He strengthens, you lean in. He flows, You channel. He moves, you yield. He leads, you follow. He empowers, you persevere.

So, about those New Years’ resolutions… Have you asked Him what’s on His heart for 2022?

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What are your thoughts for moving forward in the New Year?

25 thoughts on “How Not to Approach 2022

  1. Sorry accidentally sent it before finishing.
    That does not mean we minimise the importance of our efforts in surrender and obedience.
    Thank you Jennifer and a happy new year to you and your family

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Such an important complementary truth, Manu! He really does ask for absolutely all of us in surrender, so that He can work these changes in us. Thank you so much for that thought. A beautiful 2022 filled with His presence be yours!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Amen, Jennifer! The harder we try to improve things by our own effort, the worse the mess we make. (Please don’t ask me how I know this. 🙄) The only effective “will power” is MY WILL + HIS POWER. (He does it all, the only thing I have to do is be willing to yield to Him, as you describe so beautifully.)
    Have a wonderful 2022!
    Blessings,
    Annie

    Liked by 1 person

  3. If resolutions worked I’d be superman ( well not literally!). Experience has taught me that all, everything, is grace. I no longer pray for anything other than knowledge of God’s will for me today and the power to carry “that” out. Everything I try to do on Greg Power seems to end up at worst, a disaster, and at best, second best. Sometimes the largest sin I commit is settling for less than God intends for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This week, I’m just starting to have thoughts of any kind! We’ve been occupied with the results of an EF4 tornado blasting through my town Dec. 10 (prayers, please). But time does still go on, doesn’t it, and things must be done which are, and are not, related to recovery from the storm. In this extraordinary situation, God will use me and others in extraordinary ways. I have therefore made no specific resolutions; I hope simply to stay open, stay aware, and do what He needs me to do.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My last New Year’s Resolution, which I have faithfully kept for 41 years, was in 1969 as I was in the middle of my senior year at high school: Resolved, I will never make another New Year’s Resolution. I think I will follow your lead and ask Father what He wants me to do! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I am seeking more joy this year! The Holy Spirit is giving me lots of ideas how, and I am overflowing with it, so I am sharing joy with others. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. The last 2 years of Covid restrictions and so many deaths, has weakened my joy a bit, so Holy Spirit please help me find more joy!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Dear Jennifer

    Many thanks for your post. I have had a good laugh at the American Humanist Association (AHA). What fools they are. You might like this.

    They say AHA we know we can do with out God, “Good Without God.”

    The word ‘Good’ without the word ‘God’ is ‘O’, sounding like ‘Oh’.

    As in ‘Oh dear, I made a mistake’ for example.

    So the American Humanist Association goes ‘Aha!’. And then when they realise the Truth and see Jesus they will go ‘O’ or ‘Oh’.

    Some people like the AHA are a bit dim to put it mildly.

    Kind regards

    Baldmichael Theresoluteprotector’sson
    Please excuse the nom-de-plume, this is as much for fun as a riddle for people to solve if they wish.

    Liked by 1 person

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