It's a new year! A new beginning! I've been thinking a lot about what I want to be different this year. Every year, I make some resolutions for things I want to change and every year, some things do, and some things don't. In fact, I have three things that I am continually working on (and failing), hoping this will be the year that I find success.
The first area is losing weight. I've had two different times when I've had success. One was in college. I had put on 10lbs. in my first semester. When I went home for Christmas, my mom took me to her gym, and I faithfully worked out every day. I knew one of the reasons I had gained weight was because every night when the snack cart would come to our floor, I would buy something unhealthy to eat. When I went back to school after the break, I had lost the 10 lbs I had put on. I was determined to keep it off. I found an aerobic class to join, and I started playing racquetball. I also stopped buying snacks in the evenings. I kept the weight off for several years.
Another time I was successful at taking off weight was a few years ago. I joined a gym that was similar to Crossfit. I went three times/week with a friend from work. And I hired a coach for six months to help me with my eating. I knew the way I ate was out of control and I needed accountability. At the end of six months, I had lost weight. Soon after that, the gym closed down. I started eating poorly again, and the weight returned. I joined another gym, and started strong, but fizzled out because I didn't have anyone who depended on me being there. I had gained knowledge about the kinds of food I should eat during the time I was with the coach, but without the accountability, I lacked the motivation. I am still struggling with this today.
In Romans 7:14 (NLT), Paul says, "I don't understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead, I do what I hate." I can relate! The second area I want to change is the way I eat. I want to eat healthy food, but I don't. I know how to, but instead, I continue to eat whatever I feel like having. I rarely deny myself. I see in this verse Paul is talking about sin, and I don't know if I am sinning when I eat unhealthily, but I do know it's not good for me. I feel like the only way I can change is if the Holy Spirit does the work. I've been striving for so long to eat right and failing for most of that time, that I can honestly say I don't understand myself.
I feel the same way about the third area which is gossiping. I hate it! But I also like to fit in so when I am with people that think there is nothing wrong with it or possibly are in the same boat as me; then I find myself joining in more often than I care to admit. I identify with Paul again when he says, "Oh what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life of death? (Rom. 7:24 NLT)" I can hardly believe that Paul struggled with sin, but here it is, written down for all to see. He doesn't name what sin he struggles with, but does it matter?
Paul is talking about the inability of the law to change us because sin controls us. Our flesh is a slave to sin. In and of ourselves, we cannot stop sinning. We need the transforming power of the Holy Spirit to free us from the power of sin and death. When we are born again into God's family, the Spirit comes to live in us. Because of Jesus, we do not have to be controlled by our sin nature.
I know what it is to be freed by the Spirit. I didn't use to pray. The Bible was not interesting to me. Now I can't imagine going back there. I do not struggle like I did. The Spirit changed me. That's what I want to happen again. I'm not sure I get to choose though. Psalm 37:4 (NASB) says, "Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart." The three things I mentioned above are desires I have. But can I say I am delighting myself in the LORD? Is He who I'm seeking? Would I rather know Him than anything else? I have decided that this will be my New Year's resolution for 2018. I will delight myself in the LORD regardless of whether He gives me the desires I've written about or whether He gives me different desires.