Resolution VS Restitution

January 2, 2011 — Leave a comment

The new year is upon us, and I am seriously considering clipping my toenails to commemorate the event. Not really. Well, I mean, I’ll eventually have to do it at some point, hopefully before they grow out the end of my shoes.

Just as 87% of all statistics are made up on the spot, I’d venture a guess that 99 44/100 of all people everywhere have made some type of resolution for the new year. “I will do *this*” or “I will not do *this*.” Worthless. That’s what it is. Generally speaking. I mean, look at Jared. He lost 900 pounds in 3 months eating nothing but the Spicy Italian at Subway 5 times a day. That’s some resolution right there.

Let’s look at that word for a minute – resolve, resolution. It has a lot of meanings. A general all purpose definition is “To make a definite or earnest decision.” Think of it in terms of display though and we are talking about the resolution of a plasma tv or our computer monitor. It can also mean “to bring into focus.”

I can go on forever about resolution: In logic – a rule of inference used for automated theorem proving; in law – a written motion adopted by a deliberative body.

There’s display resolution (mentioned above) temporal resolution (frequency sampling in digital recording), optics (ability to record small detail), printing (dots per inch).

There’s also the HMS Resolution, the Resolution class submarine, and an album by .38 Special. And the last one I can think of (off the top of my head) is Resolution was the name of an episode of Star Trek Voyager.

What I’m saying is, there’s a lot of different ways of looking at it, and we need to look at it in a different way because the way we make resolutions is worthless – in one year and out the other. We just don’t keep them, and if we are not going to keep them then they are worthless.

And why is this the case? Because, our resolutions, in general are more like restitutions. We are trying to make restitution for eating queso every day for 13 years by eating salad and exercising. We try to make restitution by reducing our consumption of alcohol or tobacco, or by spending more time with our kids, or spending less time at work or watching less tv.

In other words, we know we’ve messed something up, or done something excessively, or done something harmful to our bodies or our famlies or our friends and we would honestly like to make ammends for that by doing it differently.

But that’s not true resolution. That’s an attempt to make restitution, and since we are not capable of atoning for anything on our own, we always fail. Except for Jared. He’s the rock.

You see, atonement, true atonement, is something that is made on your behalf. For centuries, Hebrew priests entered the temple, butchered a sacrifical animal, spread the blood and remains on the altar, lit it on fire, and the offering of that was a sweet smell to God and he forgave the sins of His people.

But it wasn’t permanent. It didn’t last. They had to do it over and over and over again.

Then, when the time was right, God sent His Son to be the ultimate, one time sacrifice. Think about it like this, the God whom we offended by our sinfulness, the God we hated, the God we turned our backs on, He sent His only Son, His perfect holy Son, to be the perfect holy sacrifice. He gave His life, once for ALL – for ALL people, for ALL sins, for ALL time – and we will never be able to pay Him back for that. We didn’t deserve it but He did it anyway.

We are indebted to our God and we know it. Even people who haven’t accepted the gift of forgiveness. We all know. And we try to make it right once a year by making restitution for our sinfulness. We sacrifice our selfishness and overindulgence on a man made altar but it never lasts because we do it on our own and WE CAN’T CHANGE OURSELVES. In other words, you ain’t Jared.

Why do I keep bringing up Jared? Well – and this is a kick to the teeth – Jared is a Hebrew name which means “He who descended” or “He who shall rule.” I keep mentioning him because the name itself reminds me of Jesus – He descended from heaven, and one day He will return and rule over all creation.

But the thing we forget is, He’s already here! We are already living as residents of the kingdom of God and as His children, we are forgiven, we are accepted, we are loved, and we have the power to overcome.

No more restitution. The price has been paid already. Time for true resolution. This year, focus on Christ. If He is the true focal point in your life, you won’t have to try to make restitution on your own once a year. Be resolute – be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Resolve to follow Him, to BE HIM to a world dying in it’s sin. Resolve to discipline your body, to make it your slave so that you will not be disqualified. Resolve to see things, people, situations with the eyes of God. And after all of this, be welcomed into the arms of God and hear Him say “well done!”

As always it comes down to a choice, and if you’re reading this, you must choose now who you will be from here on out. The same old you, just a little lighter, a little healthier – for like a month before you shove your face into a bowl of cheese dip again? Or will you follow Christ daily and in so doing, become everything that God created you to be? Choose wisely, choose now, resolve to do it with His help – and it will be done.

Rich Nifong

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I love Jesus, my wife Cheryl, my girls Trinity and Zoey, Gateway Church, long walks in the rain and anything on Discovery.

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