Monday, January 4, 2016

Resolutions....do you make 'em?


Ahhhh, it's that time again.
No, not time to make the donuts. (Grin) If you are as old as I, you giggled at that commercial the very first time it actually aired. 
It's time to make the resolutions
In the dictionary, resolution is defined as "a course of action decided upon; a fixed purpose."

We resolve; we are determined to do things differently.
How about you? Are you going to eat healthier foods? Exercise more?
Are you going to be a better person? Drop an old habit and substitute a new (better) one?

Do you make resolutions at all?
Do you shy away from it because of past failures?

If we are interested in making and keeping some resolutions this year, we can find some clues on being successful . . . in Paul's letter to the Philippians. Check this out:

                 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at
                 my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus 
                 took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet
                 to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind
                 and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to 
                 win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ
                 Jesus.  (Philippians 3:12-14)

Alright, there is some preliminary work that we must do here. 
"Forgetting what is behind."
Paul is talking about forgetting in a positive way -- forgetting in such a way that the past, whether it is good or bad, will have no negative impact on our present spiritual growth.
You see, we must forget the wrongs that can paralyze us with guilt, and burden us with despair. There are things in our pasts, all of us, that can absolutely bog us down so that we cannot move. He is telling us that these are things we must not allow to stop us now. Did he (Paul) know what he was talking about? Oh boy, did he ever! He was the A number 1, "head honcho" persecutor of the church; he had a lot that he needed to leave behind him.

Paul is also warning us to forget the things that we have attained, that might cause us to shift into neutral gear, to "tread water" so to speak.
He didn't want to spend a lot of time thinking about how far he had come. And we would do well to avoid that, too. If we dwell on where we were, and how far we have come along, we might actually fall into the trap of being content with where we are now. We might even become satisfied (or smug) about our spiritual life or our maturity. We have to realize, as Paul did, that we still have a long way to go, if we want to know Christ completely.

Thirdly, if we want to make solid resolutions, we need to put the failures of previous attempts behind us. In previous years, have we made resolutions, only to discover that a few weeks later, we have fallen down and not kept them? Maybe it's only been days until we realize we've failed. Statistics say that eight out of ten people who make New Year's resolutions won't keep them for more than a month. OK, so let's translate that: by February, most people have forgotten about their determined efforts to change.

But it doesn't have to be that way. We can put those past failures behind, and not let them make us fearful, or skeptical, about our potential for success this time. And we can make a plan -- we'll discuss this next time!
     

2 comments:

Belinda said...

I don't normally make New Year's resolutions because I have always believed that if you aren't already doing it, you won't do it just because it's a new year. But, this year I have decided that I DO need a fresh start. With pretty much everything. So, I determined to change some things, and also made the decision to no longer allow what I've done in the past to haunt me. Funny how God chose this message at this time for you to relay. He's so good at that, isn't He??

Can I forget those things? Nah, the old devil will bring them up to me again and again. But I don't have to dwell on them, or let them worry me or make me feel ashamed. They are over and have been forgiven.

I'm looking forward to more of what God has to say about all this. :)

Austin Towers said...

I don't remember ever making new year resolutions, maybe I did when I reached certain birthdays! But not at new year! It is always good to go to take stock at certain stages and assess are we happy with the way things are, is God happy, and should we maybe make changes! I love that scripture in Philippians xx