*New Years Resolutions*
Happy New Year!
New Years is a time we look back at the year or years gone by; a time to reflect on the progress we've made and to make new plans for the coming year.
Being New Years Day and Sunday, I couldn't resist the opportunity to talk about New Years Resolutions.
I personally haven't been one to make a lot of them over the years, though I have tried a couple of times.
One year I resolved to floss everyday.
It lasted about 6 weeks.
I usually make at least a mental note to lose weight every year.
You can all see how that is going.
Has any one ever kept a New Years Resolution all year long?
Raise your hand if you have... I would guess most resolutions don't last through the month of January.
As I looked through the list of top 10 resolutions, there was little surprise on which one would be #1.
Can you guess which one it is?
Losing weight is #1 of course.
As I was preparing this sermon, I came across an amusing weight loss story I just had to share.
A woman walked into her bathroom at home.
As she did, she saw her husband weighing himself on the bathroom scales, sucking in his stomach.
The woman thought to herself, "He thinks that he will weigh less by sucking in his stomach."
So, the woman rather sarcastically said to her husband, "That’s not going to help."
To which her husband replied, "Sure it will.
It’s the only way I can see the numbers."
Following losing weight, the top 10 list is as follows:
Lose weight - *omit*
3. Quit smoking
4. Quit drinking
5. Be a better person
6. Spend more time with family
7. Spend less time on the internet
8. Be more organized
9. Get out of debt
Be more spiritual
I don't think I've ever heard "spend less time on the internet" and "be more organized" on the list before.
I'm sure the list changes as society changes.
I also thought it was interesting that "be more spiritual" was #10, possibly another indication of society changing.
The word "spiritual" is such an ambiguous word it's hard to say if the people polled meant that they would be more like Christ or be more like Mohammad.
So is it right for a Christian to make a New Years Resolution?
There is nothing in the bible that speaks for or against making New Years Resolutions.
I would caution you however to look at the focus of the goals and the motivation behind them.
* I'm* going to lose weight, *I'm* going to get out of debt, *I'm* going to a better person, *and I’m* going to exercise more.
Where's the focus?
It's all about me.
Why do most Resolutions fail so quickly?
There is no power in them!
There is no power in these goals because God isn't a part of them.
As Christians, our spiritual resolutions will fail just as fast as our non-spiritual ones when it's all about what *I'm* going to do.
If God is the center of your New Year’s Resolution, it has chance for success – depending on your commitment to it.
Philippians 4:13 tells us, “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”
If it is God’s will for something to be fulfilled, He will enable you to fulfill it.
If a resolution is not God honoring and~/or is not in agreement in God’s Word – we will not receive God’s help in fulfilling the resolution.
So, instead of making the traditional New Years Resolution this year, lets do something else.
Let's make a "New Life Resolution" and go to the bible for its foundation and formation.
Let’s take a look at Proverbs 3, and see what's on the top 10 list of the wisest man who ever lived, King Solomon.
To help you follow along, we have included a handout in the bulletin for your reference.
Solomon starts off this 3rd chapter of Proverbs with a very matter of fact statement.
"1 My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, 2 for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity.
“He then gives very specific details of 10 principles that we should live by in order to have long life, prosperity and peace.
*Resolution #1 LET LOVE AND FAITHFULNESS NEVER LEAVE YOU*
Proverbs 3:3-4 \\ 3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.
Love and faithfulness should be two qualities in everything we do.
They should be our guiding lights at home, at work, at church and with our children, friends and coworkers.
Jesus tells us that love is also the greatest of the commandments.
Love God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength and love your neighbor as yourself.
We reflect God's love for us in the way we love each other.
Keep love close to your heart this New Year.
*Resolution #2 TRUST IN THE LORD WITH ALL OF YOUR HEART*
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
Do we trust in God with our whole heart?
Do we acknowledge God with all our ways?
Do we behave differently on Sunday than the rest of the week?
2nd Corinthians tells us that we are Christ's Ambassadors, Christ's representatives here on earth, everyday, in every situation.
We need to trust in the Lord, trust that he will provide the words, the strength, and the courage to face the world and “do what Jesus would do” everyday.
*Resolution #3 DO NOT BE WISE IN YOUR OWN EYES*
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.
8 This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.
When was the last time you made a decision because you thought you knew best, and it turned out it was the wrong decision?
How did things work out?
What King Solomon is saying here is not that we should disregard our intelligence or common sense but that we should not depend on them.
We need to look to God in all we do.
Letting God direct our paths and staying away from evil will keep us out of trouble.
Let the Word be a lamp unto our feet.
*Resolution # 4 HONOR THE LORD WITH YOUR WEALTH*
9 Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; 10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.
Here it is January 1rst and we are talking about money already.
But it's not really about money - it is about the heart.
If we really want God to direct our paths this New Year we can't divide the material from the spiritual.
Everything comes from God and belongs to Him.
If we really love Him (res.1),
trust him (res.
2), depend on his wisdom and not ours (res.
3) we will honor him with our blessings.
Giving of ourselves, whether it be time, talents or treasures, is heart preparation for what God wants to say to us and do for us.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” Matthew 6:21.
*Resolution #5 DO NOT DESPISE THE LORD’S DISCIPLINE*