What Do Your Resolutions Say About You?

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With the exception of Christmas and Easter, New Year’s is my favorite holiday.  It easily beats the 4th of July, Memorial Day and even comes in ahead of Thanksgiving.  It’s not the parties that do it for me.  To be honest, I can’t even remember the last time Laura and I stayed up to watch the ball drop.

It’s the opportunity to look back and look forward.  I love looking back over the past year and reflecting on all God has done.  2015 saw the arrival of Aidan into our family, a season of growth for the church and some major work in my soul, to name just a few highlights.  And I love looking forward.  What will 2016 hold?  How can I leverage my life more for the glory of Jesus and the good of others?  Where do I need to make changes?

All of the reflecting, dreaming and praying inevitably leads to some form of New Year’s Resolutions in my life.  I know some people hate them, some people are obsessed and some people make them every year and forget them by Martin Luther King Day.  For what it’s worth, I’m a fan.  I don’t create a whole laundry list of everything that needs to change in my life.  I try to identify one or two major themes for the year, an area I’ve neglected and new habits I want to develop.

But here’s the real question: what do your resolutions say about you?  This is a particularly good question for those of us who consider ourselves followers of Jesus.  Here’s what I’ve noticed in talking to a lot of Jesus people about New Year’s Resolutions over the years – our resolutions look very similar to our non-Christian friends.  There is nothing distinctly Christian about wanting to get in shape, pay off debt, have more meaningful vacations and make more time for friends.  There’s nothing wrong with any of those either.  But what do they say about our love for Jesus?

Shouldn’t our resolutions look different?  And I’m not just talking about adding in a token spiritual resolution (go to church more, read the Bible daily or find a place to serve).  I’m talking about a whole orientation that is shaped by Jesus.  Shouldn’t our resolutions talk more about honoring Him than improving us?  Shouldn’t they be more about His standing in the world than ours in the office?

Here’s what I know.  Jesus holds all of 2016 in His hands.  He’s King of it all.  Nothing will come into your life in 2016 that He doesn’t allow and that He isn’t greater than.  He sees every high and low.  He loves you.  He died for you.  He’ll carry you every step of the way.  The smartest thing you and I can do is walk into 2016 looking to Him and asking Him to become our greatest treasure and the goal of all our resolutions.

Happy New Year!

When it comes to holidays, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are among my favorites.  No, they don’t trump Christmas and Easter.  But I’m pretty sure they beat out Thanksgiving and the 4th of July in my book.  And they definitely are ahead of Halloween and Valentine’s Day!

I like the thought of a fresh start.  I like new beginnings.  I love setting goals, dreaming about the future and wondering what the coming year will hold.  I love looking back at the last year and thinking thoughts like, “Wow, this time last year Jack hadn’t even been born.”  It’s a fantastic time of year for thinking, dreaming and celebrating God’s goodness.

It’s also a wonderful reminder of the gospel’s appeal.  I’m not alone in my desire for fresh starts, clean slates and new beginnings.  There’s something wired into each of us that connects with that desire.  And that’s exactly what God offers each of us through the gospel.  Paul says it this way in 2 Corinthians, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.”  That’s the ultimate fresh start.  It’s the cleanest of slates and the newest of beginnings.  And it’s available to each of us.

My prayer for you this year is either that you find this new life if you never have before or that you live fully in it’s joy if you are indeed a new creation.  The joy and freshness of New Years Day fades quickly.  My guess is most of us will be done with it by next Monday at the latest.  But the joy and freshness of the gospel never fades and never grows stale.  Enjoy it!