Looking for the best New Year’s resolution of them all?
The Apostle Paul already wrote it: “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”
That’s what he told the church at Corinth in one of his more pointed letters. Thousands of years later, it’s still the resolution that undergirds any other goal. Because knowing Jesus should fuel every other decision or goal we make.
But what does it mean to know Jesus and Him crucified?
The word Paul uses for “resolved” here has the sense of making a strong decision or judgment. So Paul is not making a timid, light decision to know Jesus. No, he’s making a very strong decision, one that will require him to reorder his life around this goal.
And his goal of knowing Jesus is more than an intellectual exercise of understanding doctrine or facts about Jesus. He could have used the word “behold” or “remember”. So, Paul’s goal is to behold Jesus, and even more, to remember Jesus’ crucifixion.
This is no morbid exercise, beholding a man on a cross, gasping for breath and dying a death that He did not deserve. Because as we look at Jesus crucified, we are not seeing a victim, but a victor, a Savior who took on the punishment for our rebellion from God so that we could be God’s friend.
Beholding that, day in and day out, in the ups and downs of what will come in this new year, will give us the perspective that we need for every other thing in life.
An old hymn gets at this:
In the cross of Christ I glory,
towering o’er the wrecks of time;
all the light of sacred story
gathers round its head sublime.
The second line is what I’m getting at when I talk about the cross giving us perspective. Indeed, it does loom over all the brokenness and sinfulness of the world and our heart. As the hymn goes on to say:
When the woes of life o’ertake me,
hopes deceive, and fears annoy,
never shall the cross forsake me.
Lo! it glows with peace and joy.
In the coming year, then, resolve to know Jesus. Find Him in the Bible. Find Him among His people as we gather in worship and community. Find Him in prayer. Find Him as you serve others (for He says He is among “the least of these.”)
If you’ve already made some resolutions, reorder them and get this one at the top of the list. And if you haven’t made resolutions, that’s OK, but consider making this resolution of Paul’s your own for the coming year. Then, let it fuel your entire year.