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For many of us, the New Year marks a time for reordering priorities and making personal improvements. Surveys suggest that nearly half of us make resolutions, primarily focused on health, finances, and relationships. Though our intentions are noble, the success rate is bleak—80 percent of resolutions fail by February and 92 percent later in the year—so if you’ve made a resolution, the odds are not in your favor.
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Years - Marathon - Engage - Disciplines - Eat
In past years, I’ve resolved to train for a marathon, engage in spiritual disciplines more regularly, and eat better, to name a few. (Why does ice cream taste so much better than spinach?) But I often find, like Paul, that “I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out” (Rom. 7:18).
Most of us have attempted resolutions and failed. With dismal statistics and sobering self-reflection, it’s hard not to wonder: Is real, sustained change possible?
Answer - Scriptures - Arc - Humanity - Change
The encouraging answer is found in the Scriptures, where the arc for humanity is one of glorious change: moving from the destitution of the fall toward the eternal kingdom, where God promises “I am making everything new” (Rev. 21:5). In this redemptive narrative, we’re located in the messy middle—still living in a fallen world that’s plagued by sin. Changing well comes through understanding that God desires our transformation and is orchestrating circumstances, relationships, and even ordinary moments to further his purposes.
As we seek to change and be changed this new year, we would do well to keep in mind these five insights:
Change - Progression
1. Expect change to come slowly, subtly, and in a non-linear progression.
In today’s “there’s an app for that” culture, slow change is often seen as failure. We hope for sweeping, overnight character transformation. Instead, we need to slow down and take the long...
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