Interestingly enough, when most Americans evaluate their lives and resolve to change, they tend to focus on their bodies and health. According to Google, the top searches regarding resolutions revolve around wellness, whether that be losing weight, exercising more, or eating right. Other top-ranked resolution searches involve enjoying life more, visiting loved ones more, and making career advances.
These resolutions are all well and good. Being healthy, enjoying life, loving others and advancing careers are all really great things. If we are to be honest, we are horrible at keeping these resolutions, but still, they are all worthy goals.
However, if we only focus on these things at New Year's, we miss the chance to truly inspect ourselves to see if we are where God wants us. Yes, taking stock of our physical lives and resolving to change is one thing. We'd be remiss if we neglected to take stock of our Spiritual lives.
The Aposle Paul wrote about this in Philippians 3:13-14:
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.In Philippians 3, the Apostle Paul discussed how suffering not only identified him with Christ, but also helped him to understand the Lord more. Through suffering, he more fully understood the Lord's love and sacrifice. If suffering brought him closer to Christ, the Apostle Paul's attitude was, "Bring it!" His goal was to be as Christlike as possible, and he was willing to endure anything to get there.
So, in Philippians 3:13-14, the Apostle Paul discussed what it took grow Spiritually and to become more Christlike. It takes a willingness to forget those things which are behind, to reach forth to those things which are before, and to press toward the mark.
In setting New Year's resolutions, let's resolve to forget those things which are behind. Now, this doesn't mean to erase those things from memory. It simply means to let go of those things. Those things that are behind, the past, can be good or bad. The Lord wants us to let go of both.
God wants us to let go of the past hurts that we have endured, whether they came as the result of abuse, or unfortunate incidents. He wants us to trust Him to take vengeance on those who have hurt us. He wants us to have the faith to move on. Furthermore, the Lord wants us to trust that whatever hard times we have endured had a purpose, and that God's will worked through those times for our betterment.
God also wants us to let go of prior victories. Yes, there were good times in the past, but holding on to the good ole days may prevent us from enjoying future blessings. We need to be willing to move on from yesterday's revivals, baptisms, meetings, and building programs so that we can reach more people, thus sparking future revivals, baptisms, growth and building programs. This applies to us on a personal level as well.
As we release the things of the past, God wants us to reach forth to those things before us. Whether that is a new ministry He has called us to, or whether He has called us to repent from a sin in which we've become entangled. Reaching forth to those things that are before simply means moving forward in the way God has directed you.
For me, this means better time management, better attitude, and renewed commitment. For Grace Pointe, this means completing the new worship facility and going self-supporting.
For you, it may mean accepting the Lord as your Savior, or following God's call into ministry. It may mean kicking a bad habit, overcoming an addiction, or aligning your views with scripture. Whatever it is, God has already convicted you of it, and called you to make the change. Will you reach forth to what He has set before you?
As we do this, we will be pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
So, as you set your New Year's resolutions, will you take stock of your Spiritual life? What do you need to release? What do you need to reach toward? What is it that God wants you to do this year? Answer those questions, then set your resolutions accordingly.