“For he says, ‘At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you.’ See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation!”
2 Corinthians 6:2
A few days ago a good friend asked me how well I was keeping my New Year’s Resolutions. Without really thinking I informed him that New Year’s Resolutions were not something I was into. It’s true, I don’t make them, much less keep them. But I couldn’t immediately think of the reason why.
After a few moments of reflection I decided it must have something to do with my understanding of the kind of thing worthy of a resolution. From my point of view, the most important resolutions a person can make are spiritual in nature, having to do with taking a major step toward Christ-likeness. A second factor was my religious upbringing. I was raised in a religious tradition that regarded emotionally and spiritually charged moments as the best, if not the only, opportunities for significant spiritual growth and transformation to occur. What’s more, these moments were not expected to occur at random, but at scheduled, infrequent events, like a fall or spring revival, or a mid-August camp meeting.
Taken together, these two factors would often lead to the following scenario: I would become aware of something in my life that was not pleasing to God, maybe an attitude or behavior. But rather than asking for God to help in that instant, I would wait until one of those moments referred to above. The problem with this approach is that when it comes to becoming the person God created us to be, the time to grow and be transformed is always now. The moment we fall under the conviction of the Holy Spirit is the very same moment we should respond with repentance, resolve to make the change, and pray for the Holy Spirit to help us.
I guess in my mind, the idea of New Year’s resolutions suggests that new beginnings and lasting change can only occur with the start of a new calendar year. But the Scriptures teach us that by God’s grace at work in our lives, and the help of his Holy Spirit, we are continually being transformed into the image of Jesus. In this respect, God sees no distinction between this year and the next, and neither should we.
If your goal for 2019 is to lose a few pounds, it makes sense to start January 1, after all the cookies and eggnog are gone. But if your goal is to become more like Christ, any day is a good day to begin or continue the journey.