New Year: How can you firm up your one best resolution?
Welcome to the New Year! I think we all know that every year there are people who make what they call New Year’s resolutions. Do these make for a better year? Probably not in most cases! But are there exceptions? Yes! And if you want to live an exceptional life, you must become an exception. When people make important changes in what they do, new and better results can be achieved. I’m here reminded of one of my favorite sayings I’ve spoken many times—If you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you’ll keep getting what you’ve been getting. Then the follow-up to that is—The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting something different to happen. But I’m afraid that’s exactly what a lot of people do with their New Year’s resolutions. The key to good changes and a better life is the development of new and better HABITS. This is true no matter what your age. As someone first said long ago, the secret to your success is in your daily routine.
7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. [Emphasis added]
One way to build better habits is called the 21/90 rule. It says that if you’ll commit to a goal for just 21 straight days, the pursuit of the goal can soon become a habit. Then if you’ll do this for another 90 days, it will BE a habit. It will be then that a better life situation will be in the making. Generally speaking, it is the people who develop the exceptional work habits who build exceptional lives.
We are all products of our decisions. The first line in the first sermon I ever preached was this— “Your life is going to be exactly what you make it. Don’t kid yourself!” It was at that time of my life that I realized like never before that decisions are the major determining factor in life. It was then, too, that I began to realize that if you want to learn how to make the best decisions in life, the Bible is by far your best textbook for it. It is through that Book that God will “speak” to you regarding your manner of life and the decisions you make day-to-day.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God [THEOPNEUSTOS = God-breathed], and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect [TELEIOS = having reached maturity], thoroughly furnished unto all good works. [Emphasis added]
It is by your submission to the things you learn from the Bible that you will develop a quality life filled with “good works” that’ll bring joy to your life and to that of others. If you’ve not been doing this, isn’t it time for a change?
Some people have a wrong impression about the Bible. They think it is an outdated book that has little or no practical value. The reality is quite different! Instead, it produces the best of people, bringing the best out of them. People who learn to live by it become the real heroes, the true celebrities of life. Some examples of these are given in the Bible. You’ll see some of them listed in Hebrews 11:1-13 where there’s what I’ve often spoken of as “God’s Hall of Famers.” The really important thing they all had in common was their faith in God. Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Sarah are all mentioned there. Of course, there are others throughout the Bible. Then notice what is stated in verses six and thirteen of that passage. What’s stated there is important to believers of every generation.
Hebrews 11:6, 13
6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
There are different ways we express our faith in Him today, but faith in Him as God has directed us has always been the key to His blessing.
13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. [Emphasis added]
Planet Earth is foreign land to us too. It is Heaven that is our home. We are just passing through. But while we’re here we are qualifying for blessings we’ll enjoy forever in Heaven. How’s that project coming along in your life?
2 Corinthians 5:10
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. [Emphasis added]
What an important verse of Scripture for us all to think long and hard about! For what works will Christ wish to reward you? How are you impacting the lives of others spiritually? Please realize that as a believer this is what you’ve been left here on Earth to do. We’re not earning our salvation. We already have that by grace through faith in Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. What we’re to be doing now is serving our Savior as an expression of our love and appreciation for Him, but also as the means to earning rewards in Heaven. We need to always be bearing in mind that we’ll be generously rewarded for those things we do that will bring glory to our God and Savior.
The memory of mistakes we’ve made in the past should not be allowed by us to hinder us in our future growth. Instead, we just need to learn from them so as to make wiser choices in the future.
13 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,
14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. [Emphasis added]
Even as a believer, the great apostle Paul had made mistakes in his past, but he became one of the greatest of all men in history. Such can be the case for you. But if you live life looking over your shoulder at your past so to speak, you are sure to fall again. What you need to always realize is that all your sins of the past and the future were judged and paid for at the cross of Christ. You need not try to add anything to His perfect work that was done for you then.
2 Corinthians 5:21
21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. [Emphasis added]
All our sins were forgiven at the cross and by faith in what God accomplished there, we each possess the righteousness of Christ. It is His righteousness that is the basis for our salvation, not our own. Living in the past will never build a bright future.
Therefore, what will you decide to do in this new year that you’ve not done or not done well or consistently in this past year? What differences are others going to see in you in this coming year? You may need to just do more of what you’ve been doing, but typically even if that’s true, there are things that you could be doing better. Whatever, this new year is going to be what you decide to make it. If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll begin now to make some plans, even in writing. Even if you’re in your elder years, it is by no means too late for this. For all of us this next year is the first year of the rest of our lives. What could we do best with it? Why not make up your mind to make it a great year, even doing some things you’ve never done before? You have more knowledge and experience now than ever. Why not put it to use in meaningful ways to make this happen? Why not make up your mind to finish strong? Such would never be a New Year’s resolution you would regret.
In two of the apostle Paul’s epistles, he speaks of redeeming the time.
15 See then that ye walk circumspectly [AKRIBOS = accurately or pointedly], not as fools, but as wise,
16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. [Emphasis added]
He reminds us that we live in the devil’s world. Much evil goes on each day all around us as God’s people living in the midst of it. Redeeming the time is making the best use of this time in service to our Lord who saved us.
5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without [speaking of unbelievers], redeeming the time. [Emphasis added]
Obviously, this thing of redeeming the time represents an important concept. What does it mean? It is all about living out one’s life with a sense of divine purpose. It is about making the most of the time God has given us. He wants you to live it within the framework of His stated will for you in this Dispensation of the Grace of God of which we are a part. He has a ministry, that is, a place of service He has designed especially for us to accomplish. You are one of a kind— unique. There will never be another you.
Now please pay close attention to this next statement. As simple a statement as it is, it is the means for you to fulfill a grand and noble purpose. If you’ll do this, you will always have a lot to look forward to enjoying. Resolve to make a habit of learning and applying the Word of God to the best of your ability for the rest of your life! Of all the things you do in the course of your life, it is certain that this will never be something you will regret. So, please resolve to do it.