The beginning of yet another new year and another list of resolutions that I am sure have already been set aside as we find ourselves not quite up to the task of doing the things we know we should do. We all make such lists that contain fanciful ideas of life changes and projects that we hope to accomplish both big and small that, even if we do actually start to do them, we fail to finish even though we had the best of intentions.
Much more serious are the things I want to do and you want to do for God and it never gets accomplished. What’s on your “To Do” list for God? Perhaps you intend to dedicate more time for activities that will help your church or you want to spend more time in personal devotions. Maybe you want to start going to church after years of being absent as you feel the Holy Spirit encouraging you back to being fed weekly by the Word and Sacrament ministry that once sustained you and comforted you with God’s grace in your life.
We want to see personal growth and people coming to faith and are always looking for ways to help in that regard but the reality is we can’t do it by our own power. Building the Kingdom of God cannot be by our human effort, but is perfectly accomplished by the eternal King, Jesus.
A quick look at your life and efforts will reveal sinful insufficiencies. Your priorities, wants and desires have displaced God’s priorities and what He would have you to do. Because of your sin, you will die and be buried, and everything will turn to dust.
But God does everything you need to change that future of death and despair! He has delivered you from sin and its slavery; you’ve come through Baptism’s waters washing away the consequences of sin as faith is given and you have been adopted into the family of God through the power of the Holy Spirit. He is shepherding, leading you through the study of the Scriptures and partaking of the Holy Sacraments, the means of grace as you walk a sanctified life lived in Christ Jesus.
“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain” (Ps 127:1). God does encourage your heart to look to do things for him. But what is most important is always to know what He has done for you in the past and what He does for you and through you in the future as you focus on Him and not yourself. The house that God builds is what demands the most attention. It is always our gracious God who constructs what is perfect and lasting.
Jesus, God made flesh, has conquered Satan, death, hell and the grave, all that would threaten you. Jesus would take the ultimate destruction, your eternal damnation, on the cross and rise victorious as your eternal king, providing an eternal “house” (home) for you. When you hear God’s Word properly preached and taught, you will always hear Scripture’s prophetic voice guiding you in Christ’s grace. You are commissioned to “do all that is in your heart” (2 Sam 7:3), knowing with confidence that the Lord is with you.
May enduring hope in Christ be your resolution celebration this New Year and always! Amen