New Year’s Resolution versus New Year’s Reconciliation

Which one is better? Resolution or reconciliation? What are the differences? New Year’s resolutions are a tradition in the Western World. A New Year’s resolution is where a person resolves to continue good practices, change an undesired trait or behavior, accomplish a personal goal, or otherwise improve their behavior at the beginning of a calendar year. They don’t work. Do you know what the most popular New Year’s resolution is? To live a healthier life. The top three New Year’s resolutions in the U.S. (Statista Global Consumer Survey) needed to accomplish the goal of a healthier life:

1. exercise
2. eat healthier
3. lose weight

How long do our resolutions last? Based on data from the online grocer FreshDirect, many customers fail to keep their New Year’s Resolutions. The retailer recently reported that customers’ alcohol consumption rose by 40 percent in the first two weeks of February—while juice-cleanse sales dropped by 25 percent.

Shoppers also bought 15 percent more ice cream and desserts and 35 percent more pizza in early February than during the first two weeks of January. A study by Foursquare and Swarm shows that February 4th (37 days after New Year’s) is the day people are most likely to fail to live up to their resolutions. The apps analyzed users’ check-ins and found that the date marks a rise in visits to fast-food take-out restaurants and a significant downturn in trips to the gym in February.

New Year’s Resolutions require what man can do; statistically, they do not last. On the other hand, God’s Word calls us to reconcile our lives with one another and the Lord, and reconciliation requires God’s intervention.

What is reconciliation according to the Scriptures? Reconciliation is healing injured relations between human beings (1 Samuel 29:4; Matthew 5:24;1 Cor 7:11) or between God and His creation (Romans 5:1-11; 2 Corinthians 5:18; Colossians 1:20; Ephesians 2:16) that results in hostility creating relational separation. Reconciliation brings His peace and unity to our relationship with the Lord and others.

The Lord brought reconciliation to us in and through the Messiah. Apart from the Prince of Peace and His passion, God would not be to us what He is. We were “reconciled to God through the death of his Son” (Rom. 5:10; Col. 1:22), “through the blood of His cross” (Col. 1:20; Eph. 2:16). Romans 5:1–11 we are reminded that Jesus died for the ungodly so are we justified by His blood and reconciled by His death.

Reconciliation means that instead of imputing its sins to the world, God made Him (Jesus), who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might be right with Him through Him (2 Corinthians 5). Our reconciliation removes the guilt and shame of our sins and brings about the forgiveness of our sins by His grace. Humankind is sinful and separated from God, so we cannot know Him personally or experience His love.

Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for people’s sins. We can know God personally through Him and experience His love, mercy, and grace.

1 Corinthians 11:27-28 says, “Therefore, whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.”

Examine has to do with the idea of “passing a test.” What test? OUR UNDERSTANDING OF RECONCILIATION. WHY DID JESUS DO WHAT HE DID FOR US ON THE CROSS? God loves and created us to worship Him, know Him personally, and enjoy His presence. He went to the Cross, died, and rose from the dead for us. We need to know, understand, and remember who He is and why He sacrificed Himself for us.

On the First Sunday of 2023, we will gather around the Lord’s Table, receive Communion, and renew our DEDICATION and COMMITMENT to the Lord. This is not a resolution, rather, it is a reconciliation of our relationship with our Savior and Lord Jesus. Communion is our remembrance and verification of our relationship with Jesus and our understanding of the purposes of His Body and Blood. This passage was written to the Corinthian church (and us) that had two problems: (1) they were not showing reverence, respect, or honor to the Lord’s Communion; and (2) they did not discern their interdependence as believers, protecting their unity with the Lord and one another.

1 Corinthians 11:29-30, “For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason, many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.”

They were not integrating and applying the LIVING TRUTH available to them as they gathered around the Lord’s table to be healed as they worshipped and honored Him.

1 Peter 2:24-25 says, “who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness–by whose stripes you were healed.”

Here is what we can learn from this devotional. When we live in the power of man’s resources, that is all we get, BUT when we live in the power of God’s resources, there is always more than enough.

Blessed New Year,
Pastor Steve

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