Let God help you claim victory in 2018


Mike Ruffin


Mike Ruffin
Religion Columnist

Friday, December 29, 2017

"I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:14)

On January 1, your test will arrive. I say test because there is a high degree of probability that between now and then you will tell your spouse, a child, or perhaps a friend about your New Year’s resolution. The question is when January arrives are you going to abandon it like you abandoned the ones you made last year, and the year before?

I know how you feel. I’ve made a lot of New Year’s resolutions that I failed to keep, too. In fact, I’m probably the last person on the face of this earth to whom you should look for help. I couldn’t even quit smoking until the 1001st try. And even that was a hollow victory because the weight gain that followed has plagued me for 30 years until I had gastric bypass surgery.

No, I can’t help you to lose weight or stop smoking, but I know someone who can… Jesus.

You probably haven’t thought about turning to Christ for help with the little things. After all, our New Year’s resolutions normally aren’t a life-and-death matter, so why worry God with such trivial pursuits?

I’ll tell you why! God cares as much about the small things that separate us from him as he does about the most serious request that we could possibly leave with him. He makes no distinction between the two. In fact, there’s a story in the Bible that illustrates my point.

In 2 Kings, God, through the Prophet Elisha, made an ax head float that had found its way to the bottom of the Jordan River. It fell into the water while they were cutting down a tree for their camp. Much like many of our problems, it, too, seemed insignificant in the whole scheme of things, but the believer who lost it cried out for help because it didn’t belong to him. He had borrowed it from a friend. (2 Kings 6:1-7)

Interestingly, that story is located right between the healing of a Syrian General and the deliverance of Israel’s Army. It sticks out like a sore thumb, to demonstrate God’s care and provision for those of us who are also willing to trust him with the small things that frequently turn our lives upside down.

So you see if your New Year’s resolution is important to you, then it’s also important to God.

That’s a revelation for me, too. My New Year’s resolution to be a better father and grandfather to my children and grandchildren may not look all that important when it’s lined up against all the other shortcomings in my life, but it’s important to me, and I find it comforting to know that God cares as much about it as I do.

Paul proudly proclaims in his letter to the Church at Phillipi, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Philippians 4:13) That verse, just like the story about the floating ax head, also carries a promise onto which we all can hold.

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to hold on to that promise real hard over the next few months because his Word is clear: If I won’t let go, he won’t let go either.

How about you? You can stand on His promises, too, and claim victory in 2018.

Write to Mike Ruffin at mike.ruffin@devotions.com. His website is devotions.com.