New Year Resolutions
By Pastor Tom Anderson
What do your New Year’s resolutions look like? Which of the following do you identify with?
“In this new year I will consider taking up a new hobby, like procrastination–or maybe later.”
“In the coming year I will resolve to stop drinking orange juice right after brushing my teeth.”
“A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.”
A resolution is a firm and clear decision to take a course of action. Who doesn’t need to do this? Whose life would not be greatly improved by making just one or two key decisions? Usually this is a matter of personal discipline around neglected aspects of daily life: finances, diet, sleep, exercise, screen time and the like. Who doesn’t need a fresh start?
In these quiet moments between Christmas and New Year’s, there is often time for reflection on where we’ve been the past year and where we might be going in the future. It’s a time for asking ourselves what went well last year? What do I want to carry forward? What wasn’t so good? What do I need to leave behind? What new things do I need to start? Most of our thinking centers around being happy and healthy enough to make it to our 95th birthday. This excludes a far more important question, “How is my life with God?” “How am I investing in eternity?”
The Personal Trainer/Life Coach industry is exploding these days as more people focus on self-improvement strategies. But what of your soul? What about developing your relationship with Jesus Christ? What of maturing in faith and being perfected in love? What of learning obedience? Raising your level of discipleship? Deeping your communion with Christ? What of setting down a taproot into His Word? What of becoming a master of prayer? What of acquiring sensitivity to the voice of the Holy Spirit? What of connecting to His Church? What of engaging and participating in His mission?
In the first two weeks of 2022, I invite you to join me in two key resolutions for the New Year. It’s a return to the basics outlined by Jesus himself:
Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.
Love your neighbor as yourself.
Jesus put these two together as the first and second greatest commandments. He pulled them both right out of the Old Testament: Deuteronomy 6:4 and Leviticus 19:18. Jesus called us back to the ancient and unchanging truth first presented in the Law of Israel. In His life and teaching, Jesus illuminated the meaning of these two great commandments.
Each of these commandments can be opened up like a telescope to encompass all of the Gospel. They tell us of both the vertical and horizontal dimensions of Christian faith. The vertical is our relationship to God and the horizontal would be our relationships with our fellow human beings. Neither of these can be neglected or human life is diminished and even threatened.
Let’s all get back to basics. Join us on these first 2 Sundays of the year. We’re going to put aside our calendars, notifications, in-boxes and lists. We are going to quiet ourselves and sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to the pure Word of God. We are going to let him lead our lives. He wants to lead us back to the basics of love. He will teach us what love really is. God is love and if I want to know what it really means, I must come to Him. This is a resolution you’re going to want to make for the rest of your life!