2013

Jars Happy New Year to everyone. It’s January 1, and that means it’s resolution time!

Sociological bean-counters report that now barely one in three of us continue to make the traditional New Year’s Resolution. Our resolutions seem always to tend towards pushing the limits of our abilities, testing the strength of our self-denial. No wonder resolution-making is falling by the wayside.

The tradition of making New Year’s resolutions dates back to the early Babylonians. They too tended towards the pragmatic and responsible side of resolutions, most often resolving to return borrowed farm equipment.

My family has a tradition we affectionately refer to as the “The Jar.” We take our resolutions and our predictions for the year, seal them in a jar, and open them on the following New Year’s Eve. My resolutions for 2012 were:

Well…never mind.

What is it about the future that makes both believers and unbelievers so frightened, so anxious, so fearful, so in need of the slate being wiped clean? Most of us at some point had an encounter with Charles Dickens’ famed story, A Christmas Carol, in which Ebenezer Scrooge is converted from chronically selfish, bitter, and hateful, by what—a replaying of his personal sins and their potential results before his eyes.

Something like that happens at New Years. We pledge to lose 15 pounds because we finally realize how fat we have become. We resolve to save more and spend less now that we realize we’ve dug ourselves a hole. We resolve to give more to the church or to get the GPA up…as though because it is New Years, we will have more strength. Every health club in America can tell you about the New Year’s resolution season, and how people begin the year with tremendous verve for fitness, and are sitting on the couch verveless by March.

What if we resolved to be more of what we can be, instead of resolving just to be less of what we already are? What if we allowed God to make our resolutions for us—focusing on what matters most? What if we, like Paul, said,
“But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.” – Philippians 3:13a-15.

Now, that’s a goal.

To that end, I offer you a prayer from my friend Ray Hardin:

I Trust You Lord
by Ray Hardin
Lord, when I put my faith in you
my life evens out;
my days are not so tough;
my nights are peaceful;
my temper is calm;
my joy comes back to the surface,
Why can’t I live that way
all the time, Lord?
And wanting to makes me
want to see what my faith
is all about.
It’s all about you, Lord.
It’s all about you.
Having faith in you
means I trust you.
Simply that.
I trust you.
I trust all my life with you…
all my days…
all my ways.
I trust them all with you.
I trust my life to you, Lord.
I give it to you to keep.
I know I am safe
in your hands.
I trust my past to you, Lord.
I give it to you to keep.
I know I am safe
in your hands.
        I trust my future to you, Lord.
I give it to you to keep.
I know I am safe
in your hands.
I trust my health to you, Lord.
my ambitions…
my failures…
my sorrows…
my weaknesses…
I trust them all to you, Lord.
I give them to you to keep.
I know I am safe
in your hands.
I trust you, Lord.
I put my faith in you.
And I know it’s the
right thing for me to do.
Because you have been good to me.
You have been faithful.
Your constant love
and tender mercy
have been
my salvation.

AMEN

Note: this post was adapted from a previous post from New Years Day 2010.

Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on ChurchLeaders.com, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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