Resolutions! They’re as thick as thieves and as numerous as new gym memberships this time of year. You know if I had a nickel for every resolution, well never mind. A resolution defined according to the Oxford Dictionary is “a firm decision to do or not to do something.” In most case’s according to nationwide studies the resolution to lose weight ranks number one for many years running. According to online learning platform goskills.com, these are the top 10 most common New Year’s Resolutions… Exercise more, Lose weight, Get organized, Learn a new skill or hobby, Live life to the fullest, Save more money / spend less money, Quit smoking, Spend more time with family and friends, Travel more and Read more.
The bottom line seems to be that many see in themselves something they want to see change in the coming year. Something they are not pleased with currently and are seeking to make that something better. Wow does the Bible have good advice to offer on this subject! The apostle Paul wrote a letter to a group of Christ followers in Philippi and this is what he said: “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 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.
Paul gives each of us three very important pieces of advice. First he admonishes us to,
recognize the value of time. The current life expectancy for U.S. in 2022 is now 79.05 years. A few years ago, someone went to the trouble to research what people do with their time and came up with the following results: If we live to be 75, most of us will have spent 3 solid years, 24 hours a day, acquiring an education – grade school, high school & college. We’ll have spent 7 years eating, 24 hours a day, – some more, some less, obviously. We’ll have spent 14 years, day & night, working. We’ll have spent 5 years riding in automobiles or airplanes. We’ll have spent 5 years talking with each other -again some more & some less. We’ll have spent 1 year sick or recovering from sickness. And get this; we’ll have spent 24 years of our life sleeping! We’ll have spent 3 years reading books, magazines & newspapers. And 12 years amusing ourselves – watching TV, going to the movies, fishing, etc.
Let’s suppose that you spent every Sunday of your life, for 75 years – through infancy, childhood, adulthood, old age – in God’s house worshiping during the Church Service. Now if you did, how much time would you have spent worshiping God? Figure it out – the answer is less than 5 1/2 months. But let’s double that, because you’ve always attended Sunday School. That makes it 11 months. Think about that, 5 years in an automobile & just 11 months in Church & Sunday School. Twelve years entertaining ourselves & just 11 months in Church & Sunday School!
Secondly Paul tells us, don’t be in bondage to the past. He said, “…forgetting what is behind…” In other words, “God, I commit it to you. I seek your forgiveness for all the sins of the past, & I look forward to what lies ahead. And now I’m going to live today the best I can.” And lastly he shares, we need clearly established priorities in our lives. Paul says it this way, “This one thing I do.” It was Jesus who said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God & His righteousness, & then all these things will be added unto you.” Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” and “You are the light of world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.” Beginning a new year is a good time to look at our spiritual health!
Allow me to close with a true account shared by “Our Daily Bread.” In the spring of 1981, a young man was flown into desolate northern Alaska to photograph the natural beauty and mysteries of the tundra. He took along 500 rolls of film, several firearms, and 1,400 pounds of provisions. As the months passed, the words in his diary changed from wonder and fascination into a nightmare. In mid-August he wrote, “I think I should have used more foresight about arranging my departure. I’ll soon find out.¨ In November he died in a nameless valley, by a nameless lake, 225 miles northeast of Fairbanks. An investigation revealed that though he had carefully planned his trip, he had made no provision to be flown out. So, allow me to ask, what’s the most important resolution you can make this year or better yet, what’s the most important commitment you can keep?