What is it about the new year that prompts us – no, drives us, to reflect on the things that we want to change about ourselves? Do we hope that this fresh start will magically allow us to be or become something different than we were before? Or is it simply that we crave or need to believe in that small sliver of hope that maybe this time will be different…
Oh, how I have longed for a magic wand, a miracle pill, or even some radioactive goo to produce the change that I wish to see in me. That it would instantly erase all the unwanted parts of my life, the ugliness, and replace it with the alluring perfection that scrolls through my news feed or is found on the TV shows that I watch. Despite my feeble attempts, change has not come and seems to be a distant far off dream that is only available to the few chosen people luckily enough to receive it. If only I had a magic wand, I could change it all. I love a song called "Magic Wand" by Chris Rice where he talks about a magician that would some to town. He writes:
“He would wave his magic wand
He would say the magic words
Working up a miracle
Puttin’ on a show
Changing what I thought to be
Wish I had a magic wand of my own”
I don’t know if I long for that magic wand because I don’t believe I can do it on my own or that I am not willing to work towards that goal. Whether frustration or laziness, either way I am left with no quick solution. This often leads to bouts of frustration or despair.
Miracles Not Magic
Despite the annual failure to make good on my goals, I am not left a broken man. Instead I am full of hope. Not because I decided it didn't matter. Not because I found something else to be concerned with. Not because I simply focused on something I could obtain. Simply because all of my resolutions have already been miraculously fulfilled by someone greater than me.
In a world that I have areas that I seem destined to fail, there is the one who did succeed. Who was able to conquer all my laziness, stubbornness, and lackluster living. Who lived a life that I could never lead so I could live the life I should never have. Jesus Christ has accomplished everything that I have failed to accomplish. He does not lord that over me but instead offers me comfort in it. Redemption for my shortcomings.
The Winds of Change
Not only did Jesus take care of all my incomplete life projects, but He also provided me with a way to actually make progress. He said that I did not have to remain in the broken condition of mishap after mishap. Instead, he gave me a promise. The Almighty gave me a promise! He would not leave me alone, but would send his Helper, the Holy Spirit. Part of Himself in me to help me to accomplish disciplined action that I could not ever do on my own.
In the written Word of God, in 2 Timothy 1:6-7 it says, "For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control." (ESV)
I do not need to live in despair, but through the power offered in the Holy Spirit, I am now able to live with self-control. I can actually accomplish Godly goals through the help of the great Helper.
Now, don't get me wrong, I must still work – work hard. But now I am no longer left to do this on my own, I will have prompting, comfort, and help from the Master of the Universe! Many distractions will still come, but I now know that I have the power to choose, with His help, a different way.
Chris Rice sums this up at the end of his song, the balance of our work living under His grace.
"The only way to really change
Is simple choices everyday
Obey the Spirit-whisper in my soul
With the help of God, a little time
Can change a heart, renew a mind
Without a magic wand He'll work a miracle..."