I’m sure you’ve heard good Christians say things like: ‘I want to know God more this year. I want to be more prayerful. To read my Bible more regularly. To be more committed at church. Perhaps even give more.’ The problem is this: as with so many New Year resolutions, they rarely last beyond February. Why? Because with most resolutions we don’t recognise that they have a cost. We assume we’ll wake up tomorrow and fix our lifestyle. We’ll simply become that godly guy we admire at church; that prayerful woman we look up to. That dream family. We’ll be known for our generosity and our children for their discipline and godliness. But we forget if it was that easy everyone could do it. We forget there is a price to be paid.
If we are committed to change then we must be ready to pay the price.
If we are committed to change then we must be ready to pay the price. All resolutions come with a price tag. Thus we need to be ready to give up something to enjoy the fruits of our good intentions. Something has to die for growth to happen.
Resolutions Come with a Price Tag
The truth is nothing grows and bears fruit from thin air. We must plant the seed and let it die on the ground. Jesus, in his planting analogy (John 12:24), said that until the seed breaks in the ground there’s no growth. Unless he died the church would never have been born. Our salvation therefore began with death. Our redemption with a brutal murder. If we choose to follow Jesus he says we must bear our own cross (Matthew 16:24-26). How then do we suppose we can be more godly, more committed, to serve more, pray more, and give more, without something dying?
Love will not grow side by side with our selfishness; nor generosity where hoarding exists.
For every fruit of the Spirit we bear in our hearts, we must see the brutal death of the idols dwelling there. Love will not grow side by side with our selfishness. Generosity won’t grow where hoarding and accumulation exists. And if you want to be more committed in the new year you must give up something in your life. Social media has to decrease so that prayer increases. ‘Me time’ has to reduce so that time for community grows. Our ego has to die to learn humility and service. We cannot have it both ways. We must be ready to pay the price.
For Change, Something Has to Die
The problem is when we think about good works or holiness we only look at the end product not the process. We admire the tree with its beautiful fruits, forgetting what it took to get there. We envy that ministry not realising the foundational work that came with it.
Stop looking at the fruit and ask yourself what they had to give up.
Think about anyone you admire. Whether it’s the prayerful woman at church, that godly man, the couple who opens their doors to everyone, or that pastor who labours hard for the gospel. Now stop looking at the fruit and ask yourself what they had to give up. If you want to bring radical change you must be willing to pay the price. You must kill something to bear something else. As Jesus says it’s only after we’ve counted the cost that we can truly follow him (Luke 14:28). Something has to die to usher in a new era. Change begins with the first single step, with the way we use our time to the small decisions we make, with our daily priorities, and before you know it you are a different person.
What do you want to change in your life? You want to become more committed, to lead a better devotional life, love more or totally change your lifestyle? Begin with what needs to die. There’s got to be a brutal death in your lifestyle for a godly life to appear.
In Order to Put, We Must Put Off
You must be willing to take something off so you can wear something else, to put off the old self and put on the new self (Ephesians 4:22-24). To put on Christ. You must be willing to kill sin so that the fruits of the Spirit are born. To kill worldliness for godliness to germinate. To say no to a casual relationship with God you need a brutal murder of your floating Christian lifestyle.
You must be willing to take something off so you can wear something else.
You want to know God more in the new year? Ask yourself what’s stopping you? Which sin are you entertaining? You want to read your Bible and be more prayerful this year? Look at how you spend your free time? Before you say you have no time have you considered how much Instagram takes from your day? Look at your finances before you say you want to give more. What’s eating your money? What can you reduce to give more for mission work?
Make Bold Changes, Backed by Bold Prayers
Ask God’s help to kill what distracts you.
Bring this to God. Don’t just say ‘make me godly, more committed.’ Say ‘help me kill this sin.’ Don’t just ask for help to pray more. Ask his help to kill what distracts you. Don’t just say ‘I want to read my Bible more.’ Put aside the phone as the first thing in the morning. Don’t say ‘I will be more committed to church’ without willingness to stay behind and meet people after the service. Growth begins with death. Ask the Lord to help you kill these distractions, to kill the sin that so easily entangles so that you may see growth.