As I try and find a quiet moment before Christmas, I decided to reflect on 2008. It was a busy year. I pray for some quiet times at church, but the needs seem to keep growing, and my time seems to get more and more out of my control. I looked over my list of things I wanted to do in 2008 and wondered … did I do them or should I make 2009’s resolution to be the same thing with a better attempt at accomplishing them.
The practice of making New Year’s resolutions goes back over 3000 years to the anceint 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. In reality, there is no difference between December 31st and January 1st. Nothing mystical occurs at midnight on December 31st.
Many Christians make New Year’s resolutions to pray more, to read the Bible every day, and to attend church more regularly. 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 honor God and grow spiritually, or is it because you have just heard that it is a good thing to do? Why do you want to lose weight? Is it to honor God with your body, or is it for vanity, to honor yourself?
My resolution (and my challenge to you back in the January newsletter) was to walk with your fellow Christians to help shoulder the burdens of the world and community and to remember to walk with God along the journey. I will admit that there are times that this has not been an easy resolution. But one thing that kept me going was hearing from you times when this resolution was working in your life. Many times over the year I heard how the daily lectionary readings in the newsletter were exactly what you needed to hear. I heard many stories of people experiencing the love of God when church members reached out to a person in need. So thank you for walking the journey with me as it helped me and encouraged me to help shoulder the burdens of our community.
So for 2009, I think I am going to try and live by scripture a little bit more each day. These are things that I generally do already, but, well, at times I forget and listen to the world around us. So the scriptures that I have selected to guide me are:
- Phillippians 4:13 “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”
- James 1:5 “If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you.”
- John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from Me you can do nothing.”
- Psalm 37:5 “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will act.”
If God is a part of your New Year’s resolution, it has a chance for success, if you are willing to do commit yourself. If it is God’s will for something to be fulfilled, He will enable you to do it. This year I chose to honor God in my resolution. I invite you to help me in my resolution. Encourage me and pray for me especially during those hard times. When we try to help one another give glory to God, then we will find the motivation to do more for God and for the people of God.