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Resolved: New U.

by in Soul Food

"So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature." (Galatians 5:16)

Now that we've pretty much made it through Christmas, some of us are going to start to feel this growing impulse about New Year's. It's the feeling of a fresh start, of a do-over, of a chance to be way better than we've been in some specific area this next year.

Maybe you want to start working out more or getting better grades or being more fun at parties. Maybe you'll resolve to make daily devotions a habit instead of just a once-in-a-while thing. Maybe you're hoping to finally walk away from a tendency to wallow in one sin or another.

It's all good stuff. Here's my problem with those resolutions, though. I can't keep it up. I don't have the will power to last past, oh, January 8. Then it's back to the same-old me. I need help — and Paul says I've already got it. Plan to spend some time with us in Galatians 5 during this last week of the year. We'll be trying to understand how God's Spirit can make (and is already making!) us into the new people we'd be if we could.

Think: Are you motivated by fresh starts and New Year's resolutions? Do they usually work for you or not? What are the limits of self-discipline when it comes to making ourselves into better people?

Pray: Ask God to help you to understand better this week what it means to "live by the Spirit."

Do: Go ahead if you want to: Make a quick list of the top five things you'd like to do better in 2011 and keep it somewhere handy for our study this week.

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