New Year resolutions are a lot like new cars. At first they are shiny and impress but how quickly the new wears off. Without daily maintenance and consistent payment, that new car quickly runs out of gas, breaks down and is repossessed. The new usually wears off everything when the first payment is due.
God doesn’t want your New Year dreams and plans to be repossessed. He wants you to possess them! But don’t be deceived about newness and change. New cars are not maintenance free and occasionally have breakdowns. You have to pay the price to have the new life you want in Christ. You will have to give up bad habits and sinful actions. Positive, wishful thinking isn’t the key to newness and change, daily living for the Lord and dying to self is the key.
This doesn’t mean life will be perfect in 2013 — it will not! But living in Him will bring great peace, joy, hope and fullness. The new will never wear off of your relationship with Jesus — His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23)!
One of my favorite quotes by Corrie Ten Boom is “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” While 2012 may not have gone as expected, you can have a greater year in 2013.
I want to issue you a challenge to trust the unknowns of 2013 to God. How do you do this? It is more than just hoping everything will work out next year. It is more than taking a “wait-and-see” approach. You will get out of 2013 what you put into it.
Having a great year consists of more than setting the same New Year resolutions as you have the last few years. 2013 has 365 days and what you do with the first part of the year will set the pace for the entire year. I want you to take the 21-day challenge with me to grow closer to the Lord.
You need a daily plan to accomplish a better life in the Lord this year. The key word is “daily.” A daily relationship with the Lord is the path to a new life in Him. The Lord wants to make all things new in your life this year. Isaiah 43:19 needs to be your theme verse this year. “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” But remember the “I” in this verse is the Lord, not you. Yes you are doing a new thing but only through the power of the Lord.
Before you do anything, make sure you have given your life fully to Christ. You cannot add God or seek Him in troubled times. You must make Him Lord of all of your life — which means all of your life revolves around Him and His agenda. In order for you to grow in Him, you must first be born again (Read John 3).
Here is the 21-day challenge. First, read a chapter of John each day. Apply what you have read to that day. Second, pray throughout each day. David said, “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.” (Psalm 55:17). Third, fast something that distracted or stole from you in 2012. This could be television, social media, sweets, etc. Replace the time spent on this with steps one and two. Fourth, repent of any habitual sins. Make a daily decision not to fall back into this each of the 21 days. Get accountability on this if necessary. Fifth, forgive those who caused you the most pain last year. Last, commit yourself to the church. Don’t just be an attender but really invest in your church by serving, giving and connecting with other members. I pray your New Year will be productive and prosperous as you seek the Lord and His will.
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Stephen Harrison is associate pastor of Family Church at White Hall.
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Editor’s note: Pastors or associate pastors interested in writing for this section may submit articles to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your phone number and the name and location of your church or ministry.