A few days ago, I saw a church sign that first made me chuckle, then made me squirm. “May all your troubles be as short-lived as your New Year’s resolutions.” I thought it was cute until it hit me how real it was. You see, perhaps like many of you, I made some resolutions this year. I set goals in several different areas and even broke them down into monthly baby steps so that by the end of the year, hopefully my main goal would be met. And, perhaps like many of you, I found myself on February 1 already painfully missing the mark of even my first month’s baby steps.
Unfortunately, this is not a unique story for me, and maybe it isn’t for you, either. We’ve all heard the jokes about gyms being full in January that were empty in December and the dust storm that happens when Bibles get picked up for the first time in months—because each year we think this time we’re really going to stick to the plan.
6 Truths to Give You Hope
There have been a few years when I just rebelled against the whole idea of resolutions, but most years I set goals, and most years I fall short. It gets discouraging, to be honest. This year, I was particularly discouraged. Why should I keep trying to reach the same goals I’ve been failing to reach for decades? I was so weary, and I just didn’t want to set myself up to fail yet again. So this year, I really contemplated the “why” of the resolutions, not just the “what.” Why should we keep trying and trying when we’ve been failing and failing? The Lord showed me some answers in His Word, and in those answers I found hope to try again.
1. There are new mercies every morning.
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him” (Lam. 3:21–24).
Every day is a new day, a new chance to try again, a day in which we haven’t yet failed. One of my favorite literary characters, Anne Shirley, knew the beauty of a fresh new day when she said, “Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”
God promises us that His mercies will never run out, they will renew every single morning, and we can hope in that. Yesterday’s failures do not have to dictate today. A new day can start a new trajectory toward goals instead of away from them. Whether that day is January 1 or February 8 or even sometime in November, it’s still a new chance to start again, banking on the promised mercies and love of the Lord.
2. Salvation allows us to forget the past and strain toward what is ahead.
But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:13–14).
Your past may be full of heartache, failures, sin. You may have struggled with the same old burdens year after year after year. But one thing those new mercies give us freedom to do is to shrug off the burden of the past. Our salvation in Christ has severed the straps tying the burden onto us, and it doesn’t have to weigh us down anymore. We can look ahead instead of backward, and we can start moving forward.
I love the word “straining” here—Paul acknowledges that progress isn’t easy. His language is that of a runner in a race, stretching forward toward the finish. It’s difficult, and it involves every ounce of your energy, but there is a prize ahead.
3. It’s worth it to keep doing good, even when we’re weary.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up (Gal. 6:9).
Just like the verse in Philippians, we see here that though the journey may be difficult and weary, there is a worthy reward. Here it simply says we will reap. In the preceding verse, it tells us that what we will reap from our sowing to the Spirit by doing good is eternal life.
Do not underestimate the value of this prize! Eternal life of peace and joy and fullness of love in the presence of Christ who loves us—that is the prize for not giving up when we are weary. This life that feels so heavy and hard right now is momentary in light of eternity. Do not give up. Keep straining; keep sowing. The reward is promised and sure, and it is worth it.
4. There is eternal value in the striving.
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame (Rom. 5:3–5).
Not only is it worth it to keep trying because of the promised reward at the end of the journey, but there is actually a reward that comes through the striving itself. The suffering of striving is not excluded from this verse—striving produces endurance in us. Character is built strong as we struggle and endure without giving up. The fruit of self-control grows sweet and ripe in our lives as we continue to try and fight and discipline ourselves when it’s really hard. And as that character and fruit develop, hope grows in us, and the lasting hope of Christ will never put us to shame.
5. His strength is perfect in our weakness.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Cor. 12:9–10).
We can take hope in the midst of our weaknesses, because that’s where Christ’s power shines. When we have struggled and failed, we come to the end of ourselves. We realize that apart from Christ, we can do nothing. We see our dependence upon Him most clearly when we have tried and failed. And when we turn to Him in weakness and desperation, we find a hope that does not disappoint. We finally realize that our weakness is actually a blessing because it forces us to look at our Savior who stands ready to be our strength.
6. Christ’s unshakable love is the ultimate reason for our hope.
Finally, let us never forget the ultimate reason for our hope, particularly in those moments when we know we’ve failed. We looked at a passage from Romans 5 above; look now at the verses surrounding it:
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation (Rom. 5:1–11).
Our greatest hope is that Christ’s love for us does not depend on us being strong or righteous enough to keep our resolutions. If He loved us enough to die for us while we were still wicked, still His enemy, still dead in our sins, then that love will not waver when we still struggle with sin after salvation. We have a peace with God that cannot be shaken because it depends on His performance, not ours. Take heart, dear sister. Keep trying; keep striving. Don’t grow weary and give up. And above all, rejoice in the Savior who loves you and perfectly fulfilled every law in order to reconcile you to God.
PS: This is truth (and hope!) we all should take to heart. All this month, our team wants to help you to do just that through Scripture memorization. For your gift of any amount toward the ministry of Revive Our Hearts (and the True Woman blog) through March, you will receive Seeking Him Scripture Memory Cards. These beautifully designed Scripture cards can be easily posted on your bathroom mirror, shared with friends, or used as bookmarks. However you use them, they will be a continual reminder to seek the Lord and His help in whatever resolutions you’re striving to keep. Head to this link to give—and request the cards!