“To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.” Colossians 1:29
I expect by now, many who made new year's resolutions have given up on them. Whether it’s exercising, giving up smoking, or eating a healthier diet, most new year’s resolutions, don’t last more than a few weeks. Why is it we can't keep our resolutions?
Paul identifies this problem in Romans 7:18: "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." Trying harder, or putting ourselves on self-improvement programs isn't going to change our behaviour in the long term. Change happens from the inside out.
A fruit tree doesn't 'try hard' to produce fruit, rather it allows the sap flowing through its branches to do the work. Colossians 2:6 tells us "just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him". We received Christ by trusting in his finished work on the cross so in the same way we change, by continuing to trust in his work on the cross. The Living Bible puts 2 Corinthians 3:18 like this, "As the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him."
We needed a source of energy that is beyond ourselves and Christ provides it. The above verse tells us, Christ in us provides all the power we need to be the person he wants us to be. Our task is to focus on what Christ has done for us, rather than focusing on our efforts, and allow his life to flow through us.