Resolutions are great. Taking strides at improving your life, whether that’s removing a flaw or habit, or progressing in any certain way. But if we think about it, wishful thinking as it may be, we know that turning a calendar over to a new year will certainly not magically change us. In the spirit of resolutions, think through something you’d like to improve in your spiritual life. Is it growth in dedication to Jesus (or caring about Him in the first place), finding clarity in doubts you may have, or perhaps its your self image (wanting to find value in more than what others think of you). What are the things you’d like to improve about yourself? How can we actually resolve these resolutions? How do we change our flaws and bring improvement? How can we actually make positive change once and for all?
The apostle Paul wrote 2 Corinthians as a letter to the church to clarifying things about Jesus. There were many misunderstandings about Jesus back then (as there are today), and one of those misunderstandings was the difference between the Old and New Covenants. The Old Covenant was an agreement between God and Israel, that if they would follow God’s commandments, He would bless and protect them. The Old Covenant essentially required people to please God, which no one can do perfectly - which is precisely it’s purpose! It proved no one can live perfectly to God’s standard, we needed some serious help, and that’s where Jesus comes in with the New Covenant. In Christ’s death and resurrection, we’re promised the free gift of salvation - no longer bound by this extensive law that’s impossible to keep, but freely given grace. This was a difficult concept for some of the early church to grasp, so Paul addresses it. 2 Corinthians 3:13-16:
We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
Paul masterfully brings up Moses, the veil he wore to cover his glowing face, and the Ten Commandments to make a big point here. Moses and the law is representing the Old Covenant which Paul says is becoming a distraction from what Jesus accomplished. Because of Jesus, big improvements have been made in our spiritual standing, but there was a disguising veil on their hearts that kept the people from fully seeing it. The veil of the Old Covenant was a disguise that kept people from understanding salvation, but only Christ can remove this distraction. Paul doesn’t stop here, he continues in 2 Corinthians 3:17-18:
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
Our veil - our misunderstandings, shortcomings, flaws, and distractions - are only removed by the Holy Spirit. Only with the Spirit can we see Christ for who He really is. The Spirit allows us to understand we don’t need to earn God’s acceptance and love, Jesus tears this veil down. And Paul says it is by the Spirit that we can be transformed. By the Spirit, we can be changed from our old ways - from our flaws and weaknesses. The Spirit will clear doubt, make things new, bring resolution and improvement. So how do we make positive change in our own life, once and for all? Surrender to the Spirit.
Flipping the calendar over won’t do it, we need to rely on the Spirit for transformation, as Paul writes. What are those improvements you’d like to make in your life. Is it how you view yourself? You get down on how people see you, comments or lack of “friends” on social media, how people talk about you, whether or not people think you’re cool… Have you ever tried surrendering that insecurity to the Spirit? Praying “God, I’m feeling low about myself, I don’t want to worry about what others think but I do. Will you please be my security and my confidence?” Paul says that the Holy Spirit causes transformation and will make change - be honest and ask God to!
Maybe your struggle is with God, living for Him, and understanding what is truth. You see other people worshipping, living for Jesus, praying — and you desire it but don’t feel it and it’s frustrating! Have you tried surrendering that to the Spirit by being honest with God and praying, “God, I want to believe in you, understand you, and trust you — but I just don’t know! If you are listening, Holy Spirit give me understanding!”
Is your relationship with God where it used to be? Maybe your improvement you’d like to make is a reconnection with Jesus. Things were great middle of last year (or whenever), and at some point it turned for the worse. If you desire to come back to a tight relationship with your Heavenly Father, surrender that to the Spirit and share with Him “I want to be close to you again, Father… I know I’ve been distant, but Spirit motivate me and draw me back to you.”
Whatever your resolution or improvement you’d like to make is, surrender that to the Spirit! Jesus tore the veil down and made a massive improvement to the Old Covenant when He died and rose back to life - the Spirit can and will transform you as well if you ask!