Another year has come and gone, and with the change of the calendar comes anticipation; anticipation of a better year, anticipation of a better life. To ensure that this next year will be better than the last, we make lists. We will chart the course of our destiny one resolution at a time. Some lists will include losing weight, while others will include saving money, and reducing stress.
As I reflect on these lists, I have decided that they are good, not in and of themselves, but because of what information they convey.
Jesus says this in Luke 6:45, “out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”
New Year’s resolutions show us what we care most about. They show us our desires. They show us the condition of our heart. If you have already put together a list, sit down and examine it. What do you see?
If I were to guess, many of your lists would be about your health, wealth, and comfort. You are the god or your list and it is full of things that you believe will make your life better. Unfortunately, many of these lists will never be completed. Why? Because we are weak.
This is unfortunate, not because reaching the goal will provide happiness, but because reaching many of these goals will not provide happiness. Because we fail to achieve our resolutions we never come to the truth that these resolutions do not produce the joy we thought they would.
Having said that, what I am guessing is not on your list is Jesus. When you are dreaming about what tomorrow will bring, the Son of God is nowhere to be found. He is irrelevant to your list. He is immaterial to you. He is not on your list, because he is not in your heart.
In John 15:4, Jesus commands us to abide in Him. To abide is to have a deep fellowship with Jesus. It is not casual. It is not attenuated. It is close and it is intimate. You cannot have a closer connection then to abide. Jesus then says, if you abide in me you will bear fruit; however, if you do not abide in me, then no fruit. Simple enough, abiding in Jesus equals fruit and no abiding in Jesus equals no fruit. Which leads us to the question, ”What is this fruit?”
In verse 11 Jesus tells us what the fruit is, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” The fruit of abiding in Jesus is joy. Joy is the product of that relationship. Jesus is the source of joy. In Galatians 5:22 we are told the same thing, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.” The Spirit is in general just another way of saying that we are abiding in Christ.
What is crucial to understand is that absent abiding in Jesus, you will not have fruit. Therefore, absent abiding in Jesus, you will not have joy. Nothing else on the planet provides true joy. Nothing on your list, apart from abiding in Christ will bring you satisfaction, will bring you happiness, will bring you joy. It is only Jesus that satisfies our deepest desires. Everything else is counterfeit. Everything else is a deception.
So my encouragement this year is to pursue joy, but do not look to the world for it, look to Jesus Christ. Make it your resolution to abide in Him. If you do not have a relationship with Him, start one today. Place your trust in Him alone as your Savior and your King. If you already have done so, deepen your walk with Him. Spend time with Him. Sit at the feet of His throne and soak Him in. Abide in Him. If you do, joy is guaranteed.