A new year is under way, an old year has entered the history books, and I have most likely broken the “resolutions” I made on the eve of 2017.
As a Christian, I know I need to get my life in order and to live according to what is right, and I always think that if I set a date, say Jan. 1, as the day to bring my life and spirit more in tune with God’s Will, then I will be in good stead.
However, St. Paul stated it correctly, ” We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do — this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it… (7:14-20)”
The way, for me at least, to bring about change in my life, is to evaluate daily the personal relationship I have with Christ, and the relationship I share with with my neighbors. I must put aside all that others might tell me I should do to be “a true Christian” —- the peer pressure to live, dress, or even talk a certain way.
Instead, I am resolved to live by my heart, as transformed by Christ. I am called to respond in love to every situation, to define myself by love, in word and action. If there is a “Law or Commandment” I must seek to live into, it is to live accordingly to the commandments prescribed by Jesus when asked “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these…” (Mark 28-31).
This year I have decided to try not to define my year’s success by how long I survive with my resolutions in tact, but rather to be resolved to live each day fully for Christ, asking him daily to forgive my failings and shortcomings, and to put them behind me, and to help me be that person He is calling me to be. Every day is a new day, I don’t have to wait, I can live now as Christ’s own forever. “I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2) not just New Year’s Day.
The Rev. Walter Van Zandt Windsor is rector at Trinity Episcopal Church.
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