A new start means fresh new goals

Published 9:42pm Saturday, January 5, 2013

By Larry Stover

Pastor of Praise Park Ministries Church of the Nazarene

I understand that the practice of making New Year’s resolutions goes back some 3,000 years to the time of the ancient Babylonians. There is something about the start of a new calendar year that gives us the feeling of a fresh start and a new beginning.  Actually, there is no difference between Dec. 31, 2012 and Jan. 1, 2013. Nothing magical or mystical occurs as the old year ends.  Yet many in the Selma-Valley Grande area will have made a list and set their goals to accomplish those resolves.

There are many traditional New Year’s resolutions such as commitments to quit smoking or taking drugs, to stop drinking, to handle their money more sensibly, and to spend more time with their family. I would think that getting rid of debt in 2013 would be a wise move for any family as well.

I would say that the most common New Year’s resolutions center on losing weight, exercising more frequently, and eating more healthily. These are all good goals to set.  Sadly there is little or no follow through because New Year’s resolutions involve changing your lifestyle.

I continually challenge my Christian friends to make some serious goals for the New Year. Most will make New Year’s resolutions to pray more or to read the Bible regularly. I pray that many area residents will make a resolution to attend church more.

These are incredible goals. However, these kinds of New Year’s resolutions fail just as often as the non-spiritual resolutions, because there is no power in the resolve. The Determination to start or stop doing a certain activity has no value unless you have the proper motivation. For example, I read the Bible every day to honor God and grow in my relationship with Jesus Christ. I’m working hard to keep losing weight because I want to honor God with my body.

If God is the center of your New Year’s resolution, you have a chance for achievement, depending on your commitment to it. If it is God’s will for something to be fulfilled, He will enable you to fulfill it. On the other hand, if a resolution does not honor God or is not in harmony with His Word, don’t expect to receive God’s help in accomplish that resolution.

So, what kinds of New Year’s resolutions should a Christian make? I would like to offer a few suggestions. Resolve to pray to the Lord for wisdom in the decisions you will be making in 2013.  Secondly, resolve to rely on God’s strength to help you. Any life changing resolution will require His help to accomplish it.

Finally, whatever you do, don’t give up because you failed a time or two. Real changes often take a lot of time and determination.

With God’s help 2013 can be your best year ever. When our lives revolve around our relationship with Jesus Christ, life is “simply beautiful.”

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