Psalm 37:5-6, "“Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.”
“The new year stands before you like a chapter in a book waiting to be written, it's blank pages waiting to be filled.”
I'm going to eat better this year, shed some pounds. I'm going to make more time for studying the Bible and talking with God. I'm going to watch less TV and start learning to… I'm going to spend less time on social media. I'm going to exercise more. I'm going to get organized. I'm going to quit... I'm going to spend more time with friends and family. I'm going to be a better witness for Jesus to my coworkers or strangers I encounter.
We just entered a new year. It's been three days since you made a fresh start. Have you already made your resolutions? Have you already broken them? Do any of the above sound familiar?
The start of the new year serves as an opportunity to set new goals or commit to better habits. But what happens when the energy and excitement wears off, after the ball drops? How many New Year's resolutions will fail?
According to research published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, only 46% of people who made new year resolutions were successful. More yet, of those who set a goal to achieve, only 4% were successful. Those are some bleak numbers.
One problem I see isn't that we don't want to change, we do, but by the end of the year, we're back to the same old habits, same unmet goals, same old me. Look at the list I set at the beginning. I'm going, I want, I, I, I. Instead of relying on God's strength, I am relying on my weak strength.
A resolution shouldn't be the goal, it’s a process. We need to learn to go to God for growth, strength, advice, comfort, and everything. It is with Him all things are possible.
We all like resolutions that can help our lives and there's always room for improvement. I'm sure we all could eat a little better, exercise a little more, and give more of our time to the Lord. It’s easy to make resolutions, and I’ve perfected making new resolution lists, it's the follow through I fall short on.
It's easy to go into the new year with high hopes and plans for keeping those resolutions. But, once the Christmas decorations are put away and life resumes its normal routine, the resolutions seem to slip away and by the end of the year we usually can't remember what we set out to do in the beginning. Sound familiar?
How about this year we start the year off differently. Instead of new year's resolutions. Make a new year prayer and put it somewhere where you can read it throughout the year.
To begin with, remember our plans may or may not be God's plans. Our first step is to seek the Lord's will in our life and align our plans with His. If you want to shed some pounds, seek God's strength. Do you want to eat better, be a better steward with finances? Seek God's strength. When God convicts, He equips us to follow through. When we know we are following His plans we can stick to it, and we can allow Him to work well beyond January 3rd - James 5:7-8.
Once we know His will we then need to surrender our life to what He wants us to do. We believe and trust in the Lord, yes? Then we need to know that no matter what, He works everything out for good - Romans 8:28 and He will take care of all our needs - Isaiah 46:4.
As you pray, tell the Lord your wants and needs. He wants to hear from you, and He is concerned with both the big things in your life and the smallest details too. God wants to hear about your struggles. If you want to exercise more but lack motivation, tell Him. If you want to be more friendly and witness to others but lack courage, tell Him. Tell Him your resolutions and your struggles to achieve them. God doesn't expect you to work on and overcome anything in your life on your own. God loves you and cares for all your goals, and He will help you accomplish them if they are a part of His will. If they are not, trust Him to direct you to something better that He has planned for you. Include Jesus. Lay your wants and needs at His feet and allow Him to help you know what you need to work on.
Lastly, don't let your prayers end there. Pray for your spouse, your children, your family, and friends. Don't make it just about you, open your prayers to those you love and care about.
So, what does this year look like for you? How are you going to fill the pages of your book? Are you going to fill them beyond everyday life? You may already spend time with Jesus, already have devotions, but why stay there? Over the year strengthen your hopes, deepen your relationship with God. Fill your pages with Jesus so others can see Jesus in you.
This year let's resolve to give our attitudes to the Lord. Commit to making a difference at home, in the workplace, at stores, on the road, and even at church. When we surrender to His will everything else will fall into place.
I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year and may this year be filled with many blessings from the Lord, and no matter the highs you have or the lows you're in, always remember God's got every situation and you in His loving hands.
I hope you have already brought the new year in with great things and hope for things to come. Last year we spent a lot of time studying through books in the New Testament and than went on to some personal studies going through several verses throughout the Bible. This year we are going to start a new study I have found that hopefully will grow your walk with God. I am still in the process of setting them up so for this week find some time to open and study some of your favorite scriptures or stories and ask the Lord to show you some new insights you haven't seen before. Have a great week!
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