The counselor began with a smile, “Can one of you please tell me how your problems began?”
The wife spoke up first. “It all began when we decided it would be cute to think up each other’s New Year’s resolutions…”
Did you make any New Year’s resolutions this year? How is it going? We all have such great intentions – lose weight, exercise more, learn a new language. On January 2 each year, gyms across the country fill up as men and women resolutely seek to lose weight and get in shape. By February 2, however, the same gyms lie quiet as people quickly give up on or forget their New Year’s resolutions.
We all have such great intentions, but so often we come up short. We fail to be what we want to be, and even more importantly, we fail to be what God wants us to be. We resolutely declare at the beginning of the year: “This year, I am going to read my Bible every day. This year, I am going to go to church every Sunday. This year, I am going to live the way God wants me to.” Yet we end each year being the same miserable sinners.
For every good intention we fail to fulfill and for every bad intention we gladly carry out, we deserve an eternity at the last stop on the road paved with good intentions. We deserve an eternity in the horror of hell.
Thankfully we have a Savior whose good intentions always come to pass. In the weeks before his death, Jesus himself made a resolution. “As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51).
He knew exactly what was waiting for him. He knew the rejection, the pain, the death that awaited him and yet he went anyway. He wouldn’t let anyone or anything stop him. He resolutely set out for the cross.
Why? Because he loved you and me so much. He loved us so much he didn’t want us to suffer the pain and punishment we deserve for all our failures and fallings. So he resolutely promised to suffer that pain and punishment in our place.
And Jesus kept his resolution. When he declared “It is finished” from the cross, his resolution was fulfilled. Forgiveness was won. Heaven became ours.
If you made a resolution this year, may God help you live up to your good intentions. Whether you do or not, however, never forget your Savior’s resolution and resoluteness for you. His good intentions always come to pass. His resoluteness won for you a home in heaven.