Lord, the New Year prompts my customary list of resolutions. And that raises the issue of self-control…or self-mastery as the motivational writers express it. I’m thinking this is over-rated, not the inventory of potential improvements, but the idea that I can will these upgrades into being. Transformation is not a result of self-control. It’s Jesus’ control. It's the Spirit's control.
I'm reminded of the classic Morning Resolve:
I will try to be faithful in those habits of prayer, work, study, physical exercise, eating, and sleep which I believe the Holy Spirit has shown me to be right.
And as I cannot in my own strength do this, nor even with a hope of success attempt it, I look to thee, O Lord God my Father, in Jesus my Savior, and ask for the gift of the Holy Spirit.
There’s the key: I cannot attempt or do this in my own strength.
And there’s the great Christian paradox: Only in yielding to you do we gain any control over ourselves. St. Paul explained his encounter with Jesus' power:
"My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness."
Lord Christ, I pray that my priorities for the New Year are synchronized with your will for my life…that you will edit my list of resolutions…that your Holy Spirit will intervene with discipline and resolve...that I will know your grace and find Divine strength. Amen.