This is the time of year you hear comments like these:
“I’m going to cut out all sugar starting January 1.”
“I sure didn’t do so good with my workout plan last year, but I’m starting the gym the first of the year.”
“I totally failed in my Read-through-the-Bible-in-a-Year plan. I always get stuck in Numbers.”
I’m being honest. I am no optimist. I have always professed to be anti-goal making, or more aptly, resolution-phobic. Yet, recent years of learning to preach to my own heart has revealed that what appears to be perfectionism and a fear of failing is really pride and self-sufficiency. I don’t want to set goals because I don’t want to either beat myself up to succeed, or to stress myself out when, in my own strength, I cannot find the consistency to accomplish what I set out to do. And, so....for many years, there you’d find me, on New Year’s Eve, the scrooge of all hope and determination for the new year.
I’m looking at it differently this year, although I'm still not making any resolutions, so to speak. I still have no solid plans to drop a certain amount of weight, or to stop all consumption of white sugar; but I do have plans to get up early again now that I'm not ill, work through a Bible reading/listening plan again, and deliberately look for ways to romance my husband--just to name a few.
Why the change? Why the desire to even verbalize some aspirations and desires for the new year?
I think it boils down to this:
Christ perfectly accomplished the work of righteousness for all those who believe; we set goals for more focus or greater discipline because it flows out of thankfulness for who we already are in Christ, not in order for us gain His approval. To put it plainly, we set goals to become more like who God’s already made us to be. Desiring to be more than we were last year, hoping to grow more disciplined, aiming to be more joy-filled and gracious....these are not merely optimistic thoughts. For a child of the King, this curriculum vitae is ours already in Christ, but is realized through obedience and perseverance.
And, so, may I encourage you to be blessed as you look forward to 2011? May I remind you that...
“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)
“...let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galations 6:9)
"...if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Be encouraged to start anew. Let’s not worry ourselves over success or fail, perfection or shame; those are not from Him. Let us, instead, fix our eyes on walking in the Spirit, growing in His likeness, and putting one foot in front of the other in faith, starting today.