Before I chose to follow Jesus, I never celebrated the New Year. I never went to a New Year’s Eve party where I would drink heartily and wake the next morning wondering what I did (or regretting spending the night celebrating). For me, it was just another night that was no different from any other night. I never got hyped up and make one of those infamous “New Year’s Resolutions.” You know, where you vow to eat healthily or to never use foul language again. Or the “biggy,” to never smoke another cigarette.
So when I became a Disciple of Yeshua, I still didn’t make a big deal of it. Oh, for a few years, a small group of us would go down to Lester Sumerall’s church in South Bend. One year, Sumerall gave a tremendous prophetic word that was very eye-opening, and uplifting. But sadly, in subsequent years, everyone expected a prophetic message, like the first year. There is nothing wrong with expecting our God to move in some way, but when it is no longer spontaneous and “life-giving,” it becomes dull and lifeless.
After Patrice and I were married, we would occasionally have small gatherings in our home where everyone brought a treat to share, and we would play board games before a time of prayer. One year, someone knocked on our door, explaining that they ran out of gas and had no way to get home. All of us shared some cash with the stranded fellow and shared some food with him.
But I still never made any New Year’s Resolutions. I have nothing against making them, I just believe all of us should continually examine our heart. This self-examination should be a regular habit, and not just one day of the year. Lamentations 3:40 says, “Let us continually examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.” Or as the Message renders that verse: “Let’s take a good look at the way we are living and reorder our lives under God.”
But it’s not just that. The reason New Year’s Resolutions have such a bad reputation is because they are normally broken before the champagne even loses its fizz. But still, year after year, we continue to make them (and break them). But we try.
Okay, so why do we continue to make our “Resolutions”? I guess; we keep trying because we have great “ideals,” but those “ideals” are most often unrealistic. We dream of climbing the proverbial “Mount Everest,” without making any clear plan or training for the climb. Many times our New Year’s resolution are nothing more than a “wish list” of things we want to change, but never get around to changing. They also tend to be very self-centered, with little-to-no thought about whether or not they are something our Father is requiring of us.
However, I believe our biggest problem with our resolutions is that we try to accomplish them in the power of our flesh; our self-determination and “will power.” Instead, we should ask for the Grace we need from our Father. I don’t know if you have realized this or not, but we are spiritually and morally weak. Oh, we don’t like to admit it, but one sign of maturity in our relationship to the Lord, is fully grasping that reality!
Friends, we will never be the people our Lord is looking for unless we are willing to turn to Him for the help we need. The psalmist wrote, “My help comes from Yahweh, the maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:2). Until we can make that declaration freely and without shame, we will never experience victory in our life.
So, before the new year begins, stop right where you are and ask the Holy Spirit to show you the areas in your life He wants to work. The make the best resolution of all, by praying: “Holy Spirit, I give you full permission to work in my life, and I vow to cooperate with you during this coming year.”
Resolve right now to grow closer to your Lord every day! And with the help of His Holy Spirit. “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness” (I Timothy 6:11). These are the things He approves of!
(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you to the list. However, you can also find these messages at: Thought For The Day)