Gospel-Centered Encouragement for those who are Fumbling their New Year’s Resolutions

Erik Raymond —  January 25, 2011

We are now in the last week of the first month of a new year. You know what this means: the steam that accompanied our New Year’s Resolutions has, in many cases, disappated.

Many Christians resolve to be more faithful in Bible Study and prayer. Bible reading plans are selected. Early morning alarms are set. Schedules are reshuffled. We were ready. Many Christian men have also resolved to become more faithful in the leading of their homes in family worship and individual discipleship.

However, we are now on the eve of February and many have lost momentum and are discouraged.

I am here to encoruage you. My encouragement is simple. It is liberating and motivating. And it’s distinctly Christian.

LIBERATED TO OBEY
First, remember that you are a Christian and that your standing with God does not depend upon how many boxes you check on your Bible reading schedule. It can’t. It is not weighty enough to satisfy God’s standard. Instead, your standing before God is always based upon the obedience of Christ, your substitute. It is his perfect adherence to God’s requirements that is charged to your account (Rom. 4.5; 2 Cor. 5.21).

Do not fall into the deadly, demonic trap as a Christian of finding discouragement in life because of your failure to measure up to a standard. This failure and inability is intended to drive you to see the one who has.

Therefore, be encouraged today with Christ’s obedience. It is the reality of your standing before God that liberates you to obey with joy and humility. If you lack either of these today then you are probably betraying the gospel. Find encouragement in what Christ has done.

MOTIVATED TO OBEY
Second, remember what Christ has done for you. There is some overlap here with what I wrote above. When you are reminded and refreshed in the Gospel then you are motivated to live and serve God. In other words, Christ’s obedience propels your obedience.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Gal. 2.20)

When we have come into contact with the spiritual, cognitive and emotional realities of the gospel then we are motivated to obey (Rom. 6). We love him because he loved us.

FINALLY…DO SOMETHING
The other thing I would add is that it is not too late. So what if you are off schedule. Read your Bible and pray today. Men, If you have been slothful in the leading of your family then repent and go home tonight and confess your sin to your family and then get on the horse and lead them.

Don’t just sit there in the personal agony of the unaccomplished and feel sorry for yourself. Instead, wear out a path to the cross and find yourself liberated and motivated to respond to the gospel.

There is no reason for Christians to feel defeated and overwhelmed. We are to be people are who motivated by the reality of victory. Do something and be someone impacted by the gospel today.

Erik Raymond

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Erik has been writing at Ordinary Pastor since 2006. He lives in Omaha with his wife and kids while pastoring at Emmaus Bible Church. Follow regular updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/erikraymond

6 responses to Gospel-Centered Encouragement for those who are Fumbling their New Year’s Resolutions

  1. “This failure and inability is intended to drive you to see the one who has.”
    Amen.
    What a very fine post Erik. I’ encouraged. I also thought of Peter, when he was so positive he would never deny Jesus, whom he loved. Yet, he…

    Thanks for the building up words. It really does help. I pray God will encourage many others as well.

    I alos thought of Casablanca, the film. It just popped into my head, where Bogart says, “Nobody ever loved me that much.”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOJFQ8KeXJ0

  2. Dude…oh Um Pastor Dude (ha ha) I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog and to be honest I can’t remember how or why I got to it, so I guess I’ll leave that up to the Sovereignty of God! Good Gospel stuff brother, love it! Keep it coming! :)

  3. Maybe every so very often Erik, if that’s not overstepping my bounds.