Why do we bother with resolutions? I know that everyone thinks we need to take stock of our life and with paper and pen write down what we will do to make our lives better in the new year. I also know that everyone believes that after one or two weeks we have forgotten all we wrote and have no idea where the paper is we listed our resolutions.
As 2014 begins I encourage you to resolve to live each day for Jesus Christ and His Kingdom. This is nothing new but oh so hard, even for us preachers. The best way to start is to "love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all you mind and all your strength and to love your neighbor as you love yourself." Yes, it sounds familiar; it is what we preach each week and seek to live out daily before the people we have been blessed with as our flock, our congregation.
If you resolve to do this through prayer and faithfulness (you cannot do this on your own) and happen to slip and forget, it is cool; God will allow you to start again. That's the thing with resolutions on paper; we fail once and trash the whole thing. I invite you to not let that happen to you this year and with this one resolve of living for Christ 24/7. It's ok if we slip and fail; God is gracious and will pick us up and get us started again.
If God can do that, can't we do it for others? When people hurt us with words or actions and forget what it means to be a Christian disciple, can we forgive them and help that relationship start again ... even if we disagree? Oops, that is another resolution, isn't it?
It is my prayer in 2014 that you and I live for Jesus Christ and His Kingdom by loving God with all we have (and not just in sermons, but in every situation). I pray you will love those neighbors who are difficult, who are wrong (who think we are wrong), and who say hurtful and even harmful things. Love them with the forgiveness that God through Jesus Christ gives you. In the same time, work to keep the doors and hearts of communication open so God might be glorified.
Why do we continue to make resolutions? Because 2014 is a year of opportunities; let's resolve to live them for Jesus.
Happy New Year,