I recently put the finishing touches on our family plan for 2012 and was reminded of a baseball game I lost years ago. With only two innings left our team was behind 5 runs, an insurmountable deficit that left us depressed and ready for the game to be over. After all, tomorrow was a new game and we would redeem ourselves then. Long before the game was over we had accepted the loss and moved on.

For many, new year resolutions are no different. 

Over 200 million Americans made formal new year resolutions in 2011. And for good reason; resolutions provide a wonderful opportunity to evaluate our lives and make plans to grow which are all very good things.

The problem is the second statistic.

According to the same firm, only 22% of Americans actually maintain those resolutions through May. If that’s true, over 150 million Americans spend the second half of the year disappointed and often unwilling to try again until the new year. But this shouldn’t be the story of the Christian. Paul tells us plainly in Roman’s 3:23 that we “all sin and fall short of the glory of God”. Paul used the active verb “fall” by no mistake. As the “chief of sinners”, Paul realized that until Christ returns we will daily struggle to crucify our flesh (Romans 7:14-25). In other words, we should not be surprised by our inability to to keep our new year resolutions. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t plan and pray that God would work in our lives because He promises He will. But ultimately, Christ died because we’re not perfect. We break promises. We can’t keep our commitments. That’s why we trust in the One who has.

Therefore, our resolutions should balance our desire to grow in the Spirit and to confirm the work of Christ in our lives with the reality of our sinful nature. The defeated little leaguer lives within all of us and within days your pristine new year resolutions are going to confront reality. And when they do, repent, thank God that he has already lived a sinless life on your behalf and keep fighting. His grace is sufficient for you. His power is made perfect in your weakness. His mercies are new every single morning.

I pray that you set godly, ambitious goals for 2012. I pray that you will boast in the power of the cross and all that it has and will accomplish in your life. But I also pray for a deep and abiding endurance that fights when things seem lost and doesn’t wait until 2013 to get back in the game.