In some ways the start of a New Year brings with it a sinking feeling, a feeling that although we have successfully negotiated our way through a full year plus the hectic Christmas period, now we have to do it all again! And then there are the New Year resolutions that everyone else seems to be making. Where do we put God in all this, the God who sits outside the passing of months and years, and controls the changing seasons? He does not change from year to year. How do we look at the road which stretches ahead with optimism, with joy, and our eyes firmly on Christ?
At the New Year’s Sunday service last year our pastor shared an alternative to New Year’s resolutions (which are usually broken by mid-January and forgotten mid-February). These New Life Resolutions apply every day in every season as we seek to follow Christ. We need not feel frustrated with these or give up when we fail. . . because, yes, we will all inevitably fail! For this is the reason Christ died. . . because we could never “make it” on our own. “But God gives us more grace”. Here are some guiding principles to hold on to each day as we seek to live in the freedom of the new life Christ has won for us: (from Luke 12)
1. Resolve to live by GRACE not WORKS. If we are in Christ it is His works which we are judged on, and He is perfect! Have confidence in this, and extend this grace to others. (verses 1-3)
2. Resolve in your thoughts to TRUST GOD. Don’t allow our minds to entertain thoughts that are fearful of man, the future, anything! (v 4-8)
3. Resolve in your words to PROCLAIM CHRIST. The promise is that if we acknowledge Christ before men He will acknowledge us before His Father! Be proactive and speak up, tell others you are a Christian, ask what they know about Jesus. He promises to give us the words. (v 8-12)
4. Resolve in your actions to IMITATE GOD.
The aim is to transform our walk, our talk, our thoughts to those of Jesus. Be rich toward God! Rely on the power of His Spirit in you to transform you (v13-21).