Have you made a New Year’s resolution?
Have you failed at your New Year’s resolution already?
At the beginning of every year, millions of people all across the world find themselves somewhere between hopeful optimism and pessimistic uncertainty concerning the outlook for the new year. I personally have looked forward to January 1st as the day I would stop eating unhealthy food or planned for it to be the beginning of my new Bible reading plan. However, every year, like so many, I find that while being resolved to meet these new goals I often fall short. This year as the new year was approaching and eventually came I began to think about how being a Christian should shape my perspective on the coming of a new year. With that said, I came up with these 3 things I think all Christians should think about each new year.
Be Grateful You are Here
The Scripture is clear that our lives are like the dew of the early morning and vapor that soon passes away. The year of 2016 was filled with many blessings and triumphs for some but was also filled with much heartache and tragedy for others. Regardless of how good or bad of a year it was for you, as a believer reading this post right now God has been gracious to you. At times, resolutions for the new year can make us rush to think about all the things we have planned to do in the next 52 weeks, while forgetting that neither one of those weeks are promised. We often are moving too fast to pause and show gratitude for God, the gospel, family, and life itself. It is important for the Christian not to just look forward but to also look back as a reminder of God’s faithfulness, because there is one thing we can be sure of when all else fails, He will be faithful. Be grateful.
Be Resolved to do what God commands
There are many great things that you can make resolutions to do for 2017 that I think God commends. It is wonderful and necessary to plan to take care of your body and exercise. A brother of mine plans to read 25 books by year’s end and I think that’s great. While these goals or resolutions are commendable, I think there are clearer and more pertinent resolutions we must have as Christians that trumps getting six pack abs this year. We often get caught up in all the new goals and opportunities of a new year that we often neglect the old commands that God has given us that stand true year after year.
What would it look like for you to be resolved to make disciples this year?
What about being resolved to care for the disenfranchised and oppressed this year?
How about loving your neighbor?
I think it’s a good a idea to examine ourselves each year we get and see if we are doing what we must do before getting to what we want to do.
We are closer to Christ’s return than we were last year
I recently read through 2 Peter a few days ago and these words from chapter 3 resonated with me deeply in light of the new year.
Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.(11-13)
A sobering fact about every year that the Lord allows us to see is that it’s another year closer to the day we meet Him face to face either through death or his return. The above words of Peter remind us that we are to joyfully anticipate the pending “day of God” and not dread it as if we will miss out on something better once the world as we know it dissolves away. As this year begins I want to set my heart on the things that will last beyond 2017 even as I plan and look forward to what 2017 may bring.
I think it is important for every Christian to allow the truth of Christ’s imminent return to influence our approach to this year and measure our goals and resolutions according to eternity. We should wonder along with Peter ‘What sort of people ought’ we to be in lives of holiness and godliness as we move one year closer to the day there will be new heavens and new earth!
What are you thinking about as you plan for this year?
Courtlandt Perkins is a Masters of Divinity student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, with an emphasis on Preaching and Pastoral Ministry. Courtlandt and his wife live in North Carolina where he also serves with Kingdom Diversity at Southeastern. He is passionate about making disciples and has aspirations to pastor full time in the future.