Well it’s a new year how many of you have made a new year’s resolution. Some people have. You know I think about that and I know maybe you’ve made one or maybe you’ve made one in the past so you know what it’s like to make a new year’s resolution. And I got to tell you I don’t make new year’s resolutions anymore because they just don’t work for me. And they really rarely work in my experience that talking to somebody I never hear anybody saying like, I did this in 1995 and I’ve been this way ever since.
You know why is it so hard why is it so hard to go a new way why is that so hard now in the gospel. We hear the story of the Magi and they encounter Christ and we hear at the end of the gospel they. They have encountered Christ and they have gone another way they didn’t go back to Herod. They didn’t go back the same way they came they went a new way in their life that’s what happens when we encounter God. God challenges us we see in Scripture either you change and go with God or you go back to the old way. We see that in Scripture. We see that in Peter, we see that in the Apostles, we see that in the disciples and then we also see the reverse for people go back to their old way. Some of the towns that Jesus visited he goes back and he says what’s happened. You know why aren’t you guys following me went back to their old way are those people that he saw that he said you know let me go bury my my father first let the dead bury the dead he couldn’t do it he couldn’t follow Jesus. But the Magi the Magi go a new way they don’t go back to the toxicity of Herod they don’t go back to him.
You know I was reading this book friend of mine showed me this book and it’s got this title and the title caught my eye this title it just leapt out at me it’s called “Willpower Doesn’t Work”. And it just jumped out at me and you know when you you know there’s something about us that. We know the truth in our heart and when we finally see it. You know maybe we haven’t known it before but when we see it just resonates and it’s just like that is so true I haven’t been able to put words to it but that is so true willpower doesn’t work. It doesn’t work it doesn’t work for me every time I try to work my willpower it doesn’t work now and that’s what I hear so often people say. We’re under the illusion the lie that if just if our willpower was strong enough if it was just strong enough we could do it. Our willpower was just strong enough why is it that we can’t change those big problems in our life. Our relationship problems if that’s the case. Why is it that that we’re not able to change our eating problems our smoking our drinking are any of those issues. Why is it that we have the inability to change our habits to set up prayer in our life are to exercise or to eat healthy. Why is it that we’re not able to do that well this is what Benjamin Hardy says. This is he’s a guy I wrote the book and he’s in the bulletin. It’s a really good book to read and he says our willpower is like a muscle and like a muscle we’ve always heard that it’s like a muscle and guess what like a muscle it wears out. And like the muscle we’re convinced if we build it up if we build it up we’ll be able to do it if we just build up our willpower. Well you know what there are things that no matter how hard we work our muscles we will never ever be able to lift and that it is with our willpower. Those 5000 pound gorillas on our back just never gonna be able to lift that it doesn’t work. So mr. Benjamin Hardy, you’re so smart, what do we do now our willpower won’t work he says something that there is one thing we can change. Our willpower will not work but there’s one thing that we can change that will make the difference. Change your environment, that’s the key, put people in your life who are supportive and knowledgeable about the change you want to make. Whatever that is put people in your life who know how to do that. Subtract those people that are supporting you in your negative behavior, subtract those people. Why will that work? Why will that work and not other things?
The Magi changed their environment they encountered Christ, they trusted their heart they followed the star to God because they knew that what was going to change them, God will power. By definition is our will power our will and our will does not work because by definition it is not God’s will. It’s our will power that’s why it doesn’t work. The Magi encountered God in Christ. Christ reveals to us that He is in everyone and so it is when we look for support from others that we are able to change. And I’m not saying to eliminate all negative people from our life, not saying that, it’s just that we need to realize that those negative people are our ministry, and not our support. That we will never receive support from them maybe in a blue moon but we know if we want to be let down go to those people. But if we want to change, go to those people who are supportive that we experience God. In that is the challenge, change our environment I just want to give you one example one of the things that we as Christians suffer from it suffer from being overwhelmed.
Overwhelmed with taking care of other people that’s good, as far as helping to take care of other people. But so many people lose themselves in that process. Not just Christians but caregivers lose themselves and they struggle they become depressed naturally and they know that they’re supposed to be have some kind of life but they just don’t seem to have the power to carve out a life for themselves. They’re not able to say no. You know no is a complete sentence and I shouldn’t be teaching you this because I should be guilting you to do all my work, but that’s not healthy, that’s not healthy and you will not be able to find yourself if you do that. We often think that we are the sole responsibility of caring for another person, need to wake up, you are not Jesus Christ. There is only one Savior and it’s not me, or you. That we need help, that we need support and what we need in our life is a support group that’s going to support us. Those people that are going to empower us in our life to be that positive energy, that positive force of helping us make decisions. One example for people who suffer from this one group is called al-anon. Now you might be saying, yourself well isn’t it before Alcoholics you know people who deal with alcoholic. Yes, but they are also people in the main problem they have is not being able to say no. And they talk about their problems and that’s the thing for us to be able to go to places support groups. That we can get honest about what’s really going on and what we’re really struggling with and what we really want to change. To go to those places that have those similar problems and speak to the solution of that. That’s why they work that’s why reading those self-help books don’t work. That’s what he talks about Benjamin Hardy there’s all these books self-help and all their strategies and techniques and why do they hardly ever work. You know because they’re not changing the environment it’s why it doesn’t work. There’s all these groups we’re looking for support men’s groups women’s groups there’s one thing that I changed in my life, one little thing that I did that has changed my life completely, has change so many things you know what it is I joined a priest support group. I don’t know how people live without support groups I don’t get it. People come to me, it’s like why isn’t this working, try harder see if that works it doesn’t because it’s not the way we’re made. I want you to make a new year’s resolution let that new year’s resolution be change your environment do that. Reach out to people who are supportive in the changes that we want to make and that’s the thing. That it’s in doing that we find that all things are possible for God and that’s why it seems impossible for us right now. It doesn’t mean that we’re not going to have to face hard decisions, that we’re not going to have to make courageous decisions. Yes we still will have to face those courageous decisions, but we will find that we are not alone, we will find the support the missing piece in our life that allows us to have the courage to make those decisions, you.