I’m a resolution guy. Every year at this time, I evaluate my resolutions from the previous year and make some new ones for the coming year. I like to divide them into categories: financial, spiritual development, family, and ministry.
But here’s the thing about making resolutions like that: Often when you look back, you’re either disappointed by your lack of effort in the previous year. And when you look forward, you do so with the attitude of, “I’m really going to try hard and get it this year.”
Effort isn’t bad. Effort is necessary. But too often in my life, I find myself trying hard at the wrong thing.
Let’s take a physical goal, for example. Let’s say that in 2010, you want to lose 20 pounds. So you resolve that you’re really going to try hard to do it. You get ready to try hard by throwing away all the cookies in the house. You try hard by looking up all the low-calorie recipes you can find. Then you try hard by going to the gym every day.
Or you do for a while.
The problem with trying hard like that is that you run out of steam. Always. What if there was a better way to try? What if we are trying hard at the wrong thing?
This year, I’m going to try hard to believe. In the case of losing 20 pounds, I’m not going to focus my effort on the weight. Instead, I’m going to try hard to believe that my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. I’m going to try hard to believe that God will empower me to honor Him with my body. I’m going to try hard to believe that He’s my sustenance, not another bag of Doritos.
There’s a huge difference. One is centered on sweat; the other is centered on faith. One lifts up the power of humanity; the other lifts up the power of God. One is about me; the other is about the gospel. Perhaps we should not be asking, “Why can’t I try hard enough to accomplish these things?” Maybe we should instead be asking what we should be trying hard to believe about God and His work in our lives. Perhaps it is that belief – that faith – that can result in the change we need.
Faith is the center of all things. Even trying harder.