How are you doing on New Year’s resolutions you made, now that we are three weeks into 2012?
Along with others at our church, I resolved to read through the Bible this year, chronologically. Mostly I have listened to a superb, free recording online.
(Contact us if you would like such Bible readings emailed to you five days a week; you can join or unsubscribe any time, or follow online via Really Simple Syndication.)
That plan has blossomed so far. Some of my other 2012 resolutions, though, have not left the launch pad.
Why is change so hard? You know: Bad habits pull us down like gravity.
Or picture them like car tracks in soft soil. We tend to make deeper and deeper grooves in the road of our life, until our road is full of ruts that are tough to get out of.
Medical and psychological professionals can explain some of this. Still, the Bible has insights you will not find elsewhere.
One is the depth of our pride. Visualize the Calvin and Hobbes comic in which little Calvin protests to Hobbes, his dubious tiger friend:
“Resolutions? ME? Just what are you implying? That I need to CHANGE? Well, buddy, as far as I’M concerned, I’m perfect the way I AM!”
You don’t think you’re perfect. Still, do you believe it took the blood of God’s Son to clear your record?
Think too of the evil powers around us. Paul told Christians in first-century Ephesus, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world” (Ephesians 6:12).
None of us is strong enough to fight Satan’s army on our own. We need God’s full armor.
We also must not make excuses. Martin Luther said, “It is impossible to keep the devil from shooting evil thoughts and lusts into your heart. But see to it that you do not let such arrows stick there and take root. No. Tear them out and throw them away. Do what one of the ancient fathers counseled long ago: ‘I cannot,’ he said, ‘keep a bird from flying over my head. But I can certainly keep it from nesting in my hair or from biting my nose off.’”
The Rev. Daniel A. Witte, pastor of Risen Savior Lutheran Church, can be reached at 747-5564. For more information, see www.rsavior.com. Faith Matters is a regular feature of Saturday’s Herald, written by local clergy members.