Don't begin at the wrong end in 2010

It's the first Monday of the New Year and all of us want to change.  And we want these changes to happen immediately.  So we run hard doing whatever it takes to change.  But all this running could be done in vain if we begin at the wrong end.  J.C. Ryle's words are worth meditating on as we begin this new year:

Would you be holy?  Then you must begin with Christ .... Men sometimes try to make themselves holy first of all, and sad work they make of it.  They toil and labor, and turn over new leaves, and make many changes; and yet, like the woman with the issue of blood, before she came to Christ, they feel "nothing bettered but rather worse" (Mark 5:26).  They run in vain, and labor in vain; and little wonder, for they are beginning at the wrong end.  They are building up a wall of sand; their work runs down as fast they throw it up.  They are bailing water out of a leaky vessel; the leak gains on them, not they on the leak .... Go to Christ.  Wait for nothing.  Wait for nobody.  Go and say to Him, in the words of that beautiful hymn -- "Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to Thy cross I cling; Naked, flee to Thee for dress; Helpless, look to Thee for grace."  There is not a brick nor stone laid in the work of our sanctification till we go to Christ (J.C. Ryle, Holiness, p. 49).