Hi, this is pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…New Year’s Resolutions
Each year people around the globe spend the week between Christmas and New Years developing a list. It’s kind of ironic when you think about it. Prior to Christmas we were making lists of things we wanted to have. Those lists used to circulate in the form of handwritten letters to Santa Clause but everyone knows that is no longer necessary, you simply have to change the settings to ‘public’ on your wish list on Amazon. After Christmas is over and the gifts have all been opened however, we revert back to list making. This time it is not for things we want, but rather improvement we want to see in our lives. We consider the perceived failures of the year or years before and we make a list of changes we intend to accomplish. Sometimes they are new changes we want to see, sometimes they are the same ones from years past that never seemed to persist beyond a week or two…but this time we assure ourselves…will see it through. We promise ourselves this year will be different; after all we are resolute! Sometimes people who have difficulty seeing those changes take real hold in their lives make jokes about New Year’s resolutions like; “This year I resolve to stop finding fault with myself.” or “I resolve to stop making lists” or I resolve to not make any resolutions this year”. The fact of the matter is though that it is biblical to desire to see a continuation of the process of being perfected. John the Baptist said as much when speaking of Jesus. He said, “He (Jesus) must increase, and I must decrease.” (John 3:30) John was speaking of their ministries, but the principle is yet true for our lives as well. We should be seeing less and less of us in our actions, words and thoughts and more and more of Jesus. I’m not sure that there is anything special about considering these things on January 1st each year, but certainly new beginnings are easy to consider as the past year advances into the new one. Perhaps though we should give it special consideration in this season because we have just celebrated the birth of the One who empowers us through His Holy Spirit to see the desired good increase in our lives. After all, Jesus told us Himself; “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5)
So as we each consider what improvements we would like to see in our lives allow me to offer some thoughts from scripture about the characteristics God likes to see in us. Since Jesus already made a list I thought it might be a good place to draw from as we each form our own and try to see it through.
Matthew 5:3-11 (Amplified Version)
“Blessed [spiritually prosperous, happy, to be admired] are the poor in spirit [those devoid of spiritual arrogance, those who regard themselves as insignificant], for theirs is the kingdom of heaven [both now and forever].
“Blessed [forgiven, refreshed by God’s grace] are those who mourn [over their sins and repent], for they will be comforted [when the burden of sin is lifted].
“Blessed [inwardly peaceful, spiritually secure, worthy of respect] are the gentle [the kind-hearted, the sweet-spirited, the self-controlled], for they will inherit the earth.
“Blessed [joyful, nourished by God’s goodness] are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness [those who actively seek right standing with God], for they will be [completely] satisfied.
“Blessed [content, sheltered by God’s promises] are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
“Blessed [anticipating God’s presence, spiritually mature] are the pure in heart [those with integrity, moral courage, and godly character], for they will see God.
“Blessed [spiritually calm with life-joy in God’s favor] are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they will [express His character and] be called the sons of God.
“Blessed [comforted by inner peace and God’s love] are those who are persecuted for doing that which is morally right, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven [both now and forever].
“Blessed [morally courageous and spiritually alive with life-joy in God’s goodness] are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil things against you because of [your association with] Me.
I don’t know about you, but I certainly got some ideas from the list Jesus put together that need to be added to my list of New Year’s resolutions.
So now, searching His word to consistently learn new ways to see yourself decreasing and Jesus increasing in your life in 2022…Go be awesome!