Jesus + ?
It’s 2015. The beginning of a new year. Every December I try to remind myself that a new year is merely a new year and that mind-blowing resolutions aren’t necessary. However, somehow January 1st comes around with great excitement and I find myself making a charming little list of how I am going to change my life in this new year. As a Christian, many of the items on my list related to my Spiritual life. More Bible reading, more prayer, more Gospel-sharing, more growth as the person God created me to be. Sounds like a valuable endeavor, right?
That’s the thing about new years resolutions, though. They are often centered around our doing, our actions, our disciplines. While action is important (James 2:17 tells us that faith without action is dead), being completely consumed by our own doing can bring us a tainted view of our relationship with God. When we focus on our doing, we quickly find ourselves putting faith in our achieving rather than in Christ. Our lives become about Jesus + our actions. And then when we fail at our disciplines, we find ourselves feeling as though God’s love for us is being shaken.
However, the Bible confirms how flawed this is:
“for it is by GRACE you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God…” (Ephesians 2:8)
“for I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)
So as you challenge yourself to live differently and grow more deeply this coming year, I want to remind you to start with Jesus, and Jesus alone. Our worth, our hope, and our future come from a genuine and transparent relationship with God — not mere spiritual disciples and godly achievements.
We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. It’s Jesus Christ + nothing.