There is big lie that Satan works hard to get you to believe. He wants you to think that you are not enough. He wants you to see those around you and what they are doing and compare yourself, your life, your family, your friends, and your job to them. The more aspects of your life that he can convince you to scrutinize, the better. The start of a new year is an especially easy time to make this lie seem real. Before you even realize it, a well-intentioned New Year's resolution, for example, can become a toxic reminder of who you are not.
We all counted down at midnight on New Year's Eve (or six o’clock at night if you were like my family and used a Netflix countdown before bedtime) and then woke up the next day to find our social media feeds filled with our friends' new plans. We scrolled past workout selfies, requests for book recommendations, public commitments to eat better or save money, and so on. New year, new you! The possibilities to make yourself into a newer, better you are endless.
It is so easy to want to display to the world that, as Christians, we really aren’t so different from everyone else after all.
Our human nature can drive toward wanting to keep up with the world’s respect and approval. When it seems like everyone else is starting this year finding joy in organizing the contents of their closets and following through on their plans to change themselves, we feel like we need to make changes too.
Even more than calling out Satan’s lies, what I really want you to know is the truth. The way to fight the feelings of not enough is through the Word of God. The way that we discern what does and does not need to change in our lives this year is through the refining work of repentance and forgiveness. The way that we experience true joy is through Christ’s work.
In 2 Peter 1, Peter lays out straightforward reminders about who we are in Christ and what that means for how we go about our day-to-day life.
He starts in verses 3–4 with reminders of God’s work in our life.
- Gives us all things that relate to life
- Gives us all things that relate to godliness
- Calls us to His glory and excellence
- Grants us His precious and very great promises
- Allows us to join in the divine nature
We see in verses 5–7 of this chapter how our response to God’s generosity is then shaped by the desire to put effort into strengthening our faith and how we treat others. Instead of looking to what people around you are promising, Peter uses these verses to outline a clear purpose for your efforts.
Here is the cool part: Peter continues on in this section of his letter to remind all believers that if we live in response to God’s generosity toward us, we are kept from being ineffective or unfruitful in our faith.
Instead of being self-focused, our response to God’s love for us naturally compels us to live outwardly focused in our life each day.
Verses 5–7 contained quite a list. Peter said our response to God’s love would drive us to grow in faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, and the way we treat and love others. It would be so much easier to pretend this list did not exist and just set a “normal” New Year’s resolution about working out more right?! Peter speaks to this feeling by reminding us that responding well to the gifts we receive from God takes diligence and practice.
Left on our own, apart from God’s Word and a community of believers, the temptation is to lose focus of the truth of who you are in Christ. Making truth known is why Peter wrote this section of Scripture in the first place. He concludes his teaching by writing this:
Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things. (2 Peter 1:12–15, emphasis added)
Whether or not you made a resolution this year, remember this: in Christ, you are enough. As you walk through this year, do not view yourself in comparison to other people around you. Look only to Christ, who fulfilled all righteousness so that you are presented perfect and blameless in the sight of God. You don’t need to resolve to make yourself anything else this year because you are already a baptized child of God, and that will always be enough.
Give yourself some grace this year.