Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Think back to this time last year. What were your hopes for 2017? Did you decide to make changes to your life? How did you do?
So often, we fail at our best efforts to bring about big changes in our lives. We will eat better, we think, or exercise more, or give up smoking or drinking, or get up early every day to study the Bible. So often all our best intentions have fallen by the wayside before January is over.
On Friday, we read that God gave the Jews the Law to be their ‘guardian’ until they came of age, but when Jesus came, he enabled us to become sons of God, no longer under the Law. Yet so often we create our own rules and laws to live by, and when we fail, we fear that God will be disappointed with us for failing to follow the ‘rules’.
Here, Paul offers us a different way: “My aim is to know [Christ], to experience the power of his resurrection, to share in his sufferings, and to be like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.” (Verses 10-11).
Paul’s aim is not about making up rules to make himself a better person. His aim is Jesus himself. “With this goal in mind, I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (verse 14). He knows that he has not achieved his goal yet, but he is determined to keep his eyes on the prize – Jesus.
We do not know what 2018 will hold. Maybe you will experience joy, success and fulfilment. Perhaps there will be hard times too. You might even eat more healthily, visit the gym a few times and get up early to read your Bible! But whatever happens, make Paul’s aim your aim too – to know Christ – and make a decision to pursue him wholeheartedly this year. There is no better resolution to make.