Satan Hates This New Year’s Resolution

This year I found myself crippled with indecision as New Year’s Day approached.  Not because my life is too perfect to choose a resolution…but because it is in such disarray.

I am angry at my kids too often.

I don’t eat as healthfully as I should.

I don’t exercise. Ever.

I fritter away countless hours on the Internet when I should be working.

My upstairs bathroom hasn’t been cleaned in weeks and the rest of the house isn’t much better.

I don’t do personal devotions daily. (GASP. Isn’t that the eleventh commandment…?  Wait, it’s not?  Huh…)

I stay up too late.

I don’t get up early enough.

I’m terrible about keeping on top of the laundry.

I am a mess.

My soul curled in a fetal position as potential resolutions swirled around me like accusations of the devil. I could list at least ten ways in which I could – and probably should – improve my life. How do I choose among so many when I should probably address them all?

I know exactly what would happen if I charged into the New Year with such a list.

I would fail.

Two weeks in – who am I kidding? Two days in! – I would falter. Soon, I’d forget about most of them altogether.  What’s the likelihood of even seeing one resolution through, in my current state? I wondered.  Pretty small.

I began to despair. My life is in such a mess that I can’t even imagine making a single New Year’s resolution! What a disaster I am!

Finally, the solution came to me.

I would make one, and only one resolution.

It would be the easiest resolution in the world.

It doesn’t require me to lift a finger.

It doesn’t require me to make any major life changes.

I don’t have to buy equipment or special gear. In fact, I don’t have to spend any money for it at all!

I can do it anytime, anywhere, without advance preparation.

It sounds like the easiest resolution in the world!  But I didn’t choose it because it was easy. (In fact, it is surprisingly hard to do.)  I chose it for its power.  Because this single, tiny resolution has the power to fix all the rest of my mess, to strength my hands to fight bad habits and my mind to have more willpower.

Are you ready to hear it?

Pray More.

That’s it.  That’s the entirety of my New Year’s resolution.

As I sat there, paralyzed by the disarray of my life, buffeted by Satan’s accusations on how far I fall short, I realized something – I can never do it all.  Not by myself.  And I know this, and yet I have been neglecting the heavenly Source of all my strength!  Ashamed by my failures, lately I have more and more avoided the Giver of all good gifts, feeling too small and dirty to enter His throne room and cast my needs before Him.

But the small and dirty are the ones He loves.  They are the ones for which He pours out his life!

Is it any wonder I have become such a hot mess of lazy habits and clueless time wasting?  Is it any wonder that I feel sucked of vitality, unable to even tackle the smallest resolution?  I have not been seeking out the company and help of the greatest of Helpers.  Sick, I was afraid to go to the Healer.  Broken, I was too ashamed to petition for repair.  Weak, I thought for certain I was in no shape to call out to the Strong to carry me!

I lift my eyes up to the hills;
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made of heaven and earth.
– Psalm 121:1-2

Satan would love it if I embarked on 2015 with a heavy, burdensome list of requirements, striving to fulfill them in my own limited strength.  But he hates it when God’s children go to Him in prayer!  Alone, we are weak and easy to pick off, like straggling travelers.  In prayer, we gain the aid of the greatest Help there is, Who can blow Satan and our sin out of the water in a moment if we ask Him.

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you. – James 4:10

All that wretched mourning and weeping always makes me cringe as I read.  Who wants to do that?

But how can I possibly do anything else! – when I know how wretched I am and how much I need the saving help of my Lord?

I tend to distance myself from people when I feel I am doing poorly.  I don’t want to feel the weight of their judgment, even if it’s only in my imagination.  So coming to the Lord in prayer when I feel so ineffective and messy is hard.  It requires the humility of admitting I need help.  It requires the mourning of repentance.

But because of my Lord Jesus, I will find that when I come to Him like this, there is no judgment.  Only open arms.  God is in the business of helping sinners.  It is His delight to lift us up and glorify Himself through those who are pathetic, weak, sad, and helpless.

A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory; and in his name the Gentiles will hope. – Matthew 12:20

I have a strong aversion to anything that sounds like an “input = output” approach to faith, that is, suggesting that if you pray, your life will be better, or that if you do daily devotions, you’ll be happier or more motivated – or otherwise making devotional acts a means to any end other than closeness with my Savior.  Aren’t those kinds of approaches, at the root, born of selfish motivation?

Truly, prayer can make your life harder.  Haven’t we all prayed that innocent prayer for sanctification and then been walloped, hard, by situations that changed and grew us painfully?  Prayers like that often lead us into harder things.  But have you ever regretted that kind of prayer once you’re on the other side?  I never have!

In 2015, I resolve to pray more.  It is one of the most important things I could do, and when I am leaning on my Rock, there is nothing else I cannot accomplish.

On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: “Fear not, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak.  The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” – Zephaniah 3:16-17

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Did you make a New Year’s resolution?  If so, what was it?

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8 Comments

  1. Bethany, I love you! I think we are soul sisters.

    Reply
  2. Praying *for* you and with you! Thanks for the honesty! 😀

    Reply
  3. You and I are in the same boat, girl! My original lists looks a lot like yours. But I’ve decided essentially the same thing, this year I just want to know God more.

    I was reading 4 devos a day wondering why I couldn’t hear God. So now I’m resolving to wait on him, listen to him, and let go of my preconceived ideas of him. I want to REALLY get to know God, all of this scary, cool, wonderful, tear-jerking things about him.

    And now that it’s in print, there’s no going back. 🙂

    Reply
  4. Kessie

     /  January 5, 2015

    Aw, aren’t we all in that boat? *hugs* I’m doing good if I clean our bathroom once every two weeks. >.> And we won’t mention the yelling at the kids thing. I’ve had to reassure them recently that when I get snarly, it’s usually because I’m hungry. Now they say, “Mom, are you hungry?” and I have to say, “Yes.” It usually defuses my mood. :-p

    This lady’s blog has a bunch of great encouragement. Check out her category “the reasonably clean house”. http://www.likemotherlikedaughter.org/

    Reply
    • Haha, I imagine that would be amusing, to have to stop in the middle of an angry mood and talk about hunger! 😀 I find most of my anger stems from not being willing to submit to God’s will for that moment. When I stop and ask Him to help me do what he’s given me to do at that moment cheerfully, it helps a ton.

      Reply

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