Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 12:13-14
You know, there is something about New Year's Day that is a little bit like judgment day. It is a time when we look back and ask ourselves if we feel good about what we did with the year just past. Fortunately, for most of us, New Year's Day is a judgment day with the promise of another year -- another possibility -- a chance to do better attached. When old age or serious illness makes us wonder how many chances we have left, we may take the opportunity very seriously. We all should take it seriously. None of us know how many chances we have left to make the most of life.
According to USA.gov the top ten resolutions that Americans make every New Year’s Day are the following:
Top Ten New Year’s Resolutions
1. Lose weight
2. Manage debt/save money
3. Get physically fit
4. Eat healthy
5. Learn something new
6. Drink less alcohol
7. Quit smoking
8. Reduce stress
9. Take a trip somewhere
10. Volunteer to help others
Those are all very good resolutions. The problem is 4-out-of-5 people who make them will break them. One-third of people who make resolutions won’t get past the end of January before they break them. That is why I believe what we need is not a New Year’s resolution, but what we need is a New Year’s revolution.
What does God say to us? He has plenty to say about how we can maximize every year He gives us to reach our God-given potential to be what we ought to be, do what we ought to do and become what we ought to become.
Why do people fail in keeping New Year’s resolutions? Why is it so many of us come to the end of one year with the same baggage we carried in the year before? We come to the end of the year and we are no further along in our spiritual lives, our social lives, our physical lives, or our vocational lives than we were the year before. The date changes, but the destination hasn’t. We are still stuck in the same place. A psychology professor at Florida State University did a study and came up with two reasons why people fail to keep their New Year’s resolutions. Resolutions are too general and there are too many resolutions.
The first thing you need to do as you enter into a new season is put the old one behind you. You can’t focus on where you are going until you forget where you’ve been. You cannot sail the ship of your life into the seas of the future with joy and peace if your anchor is stuck in the mud of the past. You can’t run forward if you are always looking backward. Paul said the key to living a productive life is to focus. Anyone knows that concentration is the secret of power. If you take a river and make that river flow in one direction and one direction only and not overflow its banks it can become a tremendous source of electric energy. If you can take light and concentrate it and its power you can make a laser that can cut through steel.
I am absolutely convinced that the greatest single thing I do on a daily basis is to try and hear God speak to me through His Word. There is nothing that feeds my spirit, nothing that encourages my heart, nothing that motivates me to live for Jesus and nothing that grows my love for God like reading His Word. I am going to ask you to make this your one thing.
I don’t know about you, but I’m going to move forward into the New Year saying each and every day: “This is the day the Lord has made (and with God’s help) I will rejoice and be glad in it by being more committed to kindness, more committed to encourage others and more committed to Christ. And, I hope you will join me in this.