What should my resolutions be this New Year as I pursue holiness? by Julie Rodgers – Real Answers for January 2013

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What should my resolutions be this New Year as I pursue holiness? 

Right before I left for college, a dear friend and mentor gave me a ring to serve as a reminder of God’s unconditional love.  I decided to turn the ring into a symbol of my vow to God to rid myself of the addictions and behaviors that frequently strangled me.

Shortly after I deemed the ring a “promise ring,” I found myself engaged in the debauchery I had just vowed to abolish.  In the middle of my stupor, I looked at the ring on my finger and thought, “oops.”  That night was followed by hundreds of other nights where I would indulge myself, wake up feeling sick and sorry, confess my sins, and repeat the cycle within the week.  The self-destructive cycle plagued me for years, robbing me of hope for freedom from the rebellious behavior.

Then something happened that shattered me: I fell in love with Jesus.  I started reading about Jesus’s love for the thieves, the tax collectors, the dirty whores—the people just like me.  When Jesus was faced with a woman who’d just been ripped from the bed of adultery, He told her He didn’t condemn her.  When I read that—that He didn’t condemn the whores thrown at His feet—I started thinking to myself: “Maybe Jesus doesn’t condemn me either; maybe He loves me right where I am.”

As it was becoming real to me that Jesus loved me right where I was (not the holy me I wished I was), the words spoken after His unconditional expressions of love began seeping into my heart as well: “Now go and sin no more.”  The love of Christ became so mesmerizing that I didn’t desire the momentary rush of excitement anymore; I wanted Him more.  With my gaze fixed upon His beauty, I stopped trying so hard to stop sinning.  Yet, somehow my heart change overflowed into a changed life.  I don’t know when it happened because I stopped keeping track of the number of days of freedom from sinful behavior—freedom had become an internal reality for me.

I still wear the ring that I once vowed would be a sign of purity to the Lord.  It serves as a reminder that God loved me just as much in that bed of debauchery as He ever loved me before.  It reminds me that His promise to sanctify me holds true in the midst of my current failures and broken promises, wrecking my heart with gratitude all over again.

As we enter the New Year, resolutions are looming in the back of many minds.  My encouragement is to resolve to fall in love with the Creator of this glorious world.  Lose yourself in the scandalous stories of the Gospels and allow yourself to be smitten by the Savior.  That’s the only way any of us will encounter the kind of transformation we desperately long to experience.

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