2005. Can you believe it's only a day away? In less than ten hours, we'll be celebrating here in Louisville a new year. Sparkling Grape Juice will be swigged and a pitiful rendition of Burns poem will be attempted. 2004 will be gone and an entire new year will be before us.
New Years seems to be a time of resolutions; new starts for a new year. I've talked to so many people who've said, "Next year, my friend, is my year. I'm gonna make all kinds of changes and life'll be better!" They may not have used those particular words, but the meaning was hidden behind what they said. New Years is a time where we start afresh. We throw off the (conscience) baggage of the past and boldly move forward into the future. Three weeks later our diets, workout routines and study habits have vanished, replaced by the old, lazy, unhealthy habits. Old habits die hard, no?
We don't begin these endeavors in the New Year with the aim to fail, though. Good intentions are abounding in the goals we set for ourselves, aren't they? Unfortunately, good intentions only get one so far. The rest of the journey must be made with encouragement, support and determination. We can't do much of this alone. In most resolutions, accountability is a necessity. It's much easier to do something and to have the motivation to do it if you know someone will be asking you if you did it. Also, having a huge goal over an entire year seems to be a daunting task three or four weeks into the endeavor. Losing one pound while a plethora still remain is pretty discouraging sometimes.
For the Christian, though, every day can be "New Year's". Each morning we awaken to God's mercies that are new for us. Our past is behind us including our failings, fallings, shortcomings and sin. Before us lays the power, strength and grace of Christ. Has anyone else made the commitment to do "better" spiritually only to find one's self wallowing in sin by the end of the week or even the day? Anyone? Maybe it's just me, but I don't think so.
When failings and fallings happen in one day, we can ask for forgiveness and God says grace shall abound to us and forgiveness is given. The next morning (if not the next moment), we can begin afresh with the past behind us and our goal--Christ, in front. Also, God has [re]created us into this wonderful entity called the church. It is a community where we do life together (at least that's what she was intended for). It is a place where we are loved and accepted regardless of our past and sometimes our present (remember the goal of church discipline is not punishment but restoration). It is a place where we are encouraged and edified and are held accountable in our walk. The church is our family, the Body and Bride of Christ, and who we are a vital part of.
Friends, as we begin a New Year, let us not only make resolutions once a year. Every morning God's mercies and grace is new. Every morning we awaken with the past behind us. Every morning we can awaken afresh with passion and love for the Savior and His Kingdom. Let us commit now to wake up fresh (whether we're tired or not) and consider the Lord's mercy and grace to us. Imagine how we would live if we woke up with our minds on the cross and living out of that reflection--a reflection on the grace and love of our God. Perhaps instead of New Year Resolutions we could have New Day Resolutions.
until Christ is formed in us...
Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart. Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art. Thou my best thought by day or by night, waking or sleeping Thy presence my Light. High King of Heaven, my victory won. May I reach heaven's joys, O bright heaven's sun. Heart of my own Heart, whatever befall, still be my Vision, O Ruler of all. --Ancient Irish Poem