I’ve never been a fan of New Year’s resolutions. It’s not that they are bad, or wrong. I’m just not big on them personally. One reason is because I’ve always thought that if there is something you need to change about your life, then start doing that today. Why wait for the New Year? I’ve also found that I have a hard time sticking to promises I make to myself. And I don’t like making promises I can’t keep. This is also why I seldom make “promises” to anyone. When my kids ask, “Dad can we ________?” My answer is usually, “We’ll see.” In other words, I’m not promising what we’ll do tomorrow or next week because I don’t know what tomorrow or next week holds. No one does, except for God.
Interestingly enough, I think the Bible encourages my caution regarding future events. The book of James says, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” (James 4:13-15 NASB)
Does this mean we must go through life as morbid skeptics who fear the future? Not at all. To the contrary, Christians can go through life with more peace and contentment than anyone else because of our trust in God to ordain future events. One of the greatest comforts a believer has is a rock-solid faith in the sovereign power of God over all things. The same God who spoke light into darkness (Gen. 1:3) also knows the number of hairs on your head (Matt. 10:30). He is God over big things and God over small things. Because He is God over ALL things.
While I’m no fan of New Year’s resolutions; I do like the idea of having a fresh start each year. When I look back upon the year just completed I see a lot of personal failures in my life, mixed with some victories. I’ve done some things good and I’ve done some things bad. I hope to do everything better, but I must rely on God’s grace for this to happen. And once again, the Bible gives me hope. The book of Lamentations says, “His mercies are new every morning.” (Lamentations 3:23); and this is good. Because I need mercy every morning. No matter how bad I’ve messed things up in life, I know that God extends mercy to me and I have forgiveness in Him through the Lord Jesus Christ. And I don’t have to wait for a New Year to get a fresh start with God. I get it every morning. In reality I get it every moment. Not based on my merits, but based on Jesus’s merit that is credited to my account by way of faith in Him.
Do you need a fresh start? The world may not give you one. Your family may not give you one. Your friends may not give you one. Your boss may not give you one. But GOD will give you one. And ultimately God is the one that counts. And when your life is oriented around God, every other aspect of life falls into place. Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)
Make a relationship with the Lord your top priority in the coming year. Seek first “His kingdom” and life will be much smoother in your “earthly” kingdom. Learn from past failures and look to God for future grace. Don’t pretend to know the future, but rest in the power of the One who does. Do you want a fresh start in life? Do you want joy in life? Do you want fulfillment and forgiveness? Look to the Lord and walk with Him. The fresh start you need and want is available, but it is only available through Him.