Questions for the New Year

As I face the beginning of another new year, I, like many others, find myself faced with many questions.  What do I want to accomplish this year?  Should I make resolutions or not?  Looking back over 2014, what were the most memorable moments?  Good questions.  Well, at least, these are good questions, but I must be honest with you.  Not all the questions that passed through my mind today were "good questions."  Just to give you a glimpse into my warped brain, here are a few thoughts that meandered through my mind today:

Should I finally tear down the Christmas tree and other decorations, or should I wait another day. . .or week. . . or month?

If there are dust bunnies hanging from my ceiling, are they technically called dust bunnies, or are they more like dust bats?

Why do most companies treat you better and offer you better deals as a new customer than they do if you're a customer of twenty years?

Is it really odd that my entire fireplace mantle is decorated with snowmen?  I mean, seriously, it's not like they're real snowmen or anything!

Why isn't there a Goldilocks temperature?  I'm either too hot or too cold.  What's the deal with that?

Scary, huh?  As you can see, my brain is one place where you never want to wander.  It can be downright bizarre!  And at this point, you're probably wondering where in the world I'm going with this and how I can possibly turn this into some form of devotion.  Don't worry.  I was just wondering the same thing.  Just kidding!

My point is that as I pondered these questions (both the good and the bizarre) this morning, my mind was drawn to an age-old question.  No, not the chicken and the egg, but rather an intrigue that we can find in the book of Romans.

For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. . . For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. (Romans 7:15,19)

While Paul uttered it as a statement, I can't tell you the number of times I've used it as a question.  "Why do I do the things I don't want to do?  Why don't I do the things I do want to do?  What is wrong with me?"  Have you ever been there?  You know the right thing to do, and that's exactly what you want to do.  In fact, it's even what you intend to do, but at the last minute, you find yourself doing the exact opposite.  What in the world?  We know what's right and what's wrong, so why do we find ourselves doing the very things we know we shouldn't and not doing the things we know we should?

In a word, the answer is "flesh."  While our souls and spirits are saved (at least I hope yours is), this old flesh is not.  And it is that very same flesh that leads us down the paths of sin.  That is not to say that we have no choice in the matter or that we have an excuse to sin.  What it means is that we must surrender our flesh to the Lord and yield to His will day in and day out.  Only then will we have the power to overcome the temptations of the flesh.  It is through Christ and His strength alone.

So, if I may, I'd like to leave you with one last question.  Have you yielded your life to Christ today?  I assure you, it's the only chance we have against the flesh.