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Saturday, 28 December 2013

New Year Resolutions

With only a couple of days left before the end of this year, I wonder how many have been thinking about their New Year Resolutions?  It's an old tradition - the practice of making New Year’s resolutions goes back over 3,000 years to the ancient Babylonians. There is just something about the start of a new year that gives us the feeling of a fresh start and a new beginning, an opportunity to make a determined effort to be a 'better' person.  In reality, there is no difference between December 31st and January 1st. Nothing mystical occurs at midnight on December 31st.

The Bible speaks neither for nor against the concept of New Year’s resolutions. Personally, I have only made one that I have managed to keep for more than a few months.  That was when I resolved never to make any more!  However, if a disciple of Jesus does determine to make a New Year’s resolution, what kind of resolution should he or she make? 

Many Christians make New Year’s resolutions to pray more; to read the Bible every day; and to attend worship services more regularly. No-one could deny that these are fantastic goals. However, these New Year’s resolutions fail just as often as the non-spiritual resolutions, because there is no power in a New Year’s resolution. Resolving to start or stop doing a certain activity has no value unless you have the proper motivation for stopping or starting that activity. For example, why do you want to read the Bible every day? Is it to honour God and grow spiritually, or is it just because you have heard that it is a good thing to do? Even in a more physical situation, why do you want, for example, to lose weight? Is it to honour God with your body, or is it for vanity, to honour yourself?

So, what sort of New Year’s resolution should a Christian make? Here are some suggestions:

(1) pray to the Lord for wisdom (James 1:5) in regards to what resolutions, if any, He would have you make;
(2) pray for wisdom as to how to fulfil the goals God gives you;
(3) rely on God’s strength to help you;
(4) find an 'accountability partner' who will help you and encourage you;
(5) don’t become discouraged with occasional failures; instead, allow them to motivate you further; (6) don’t become proud or vain, but give God the glory.

Psalm 37:5-6 says, “Commit your way to YHWH; trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.”

Now that's a good resolution to make - at any time of the year!

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