The New Year: New Choices or Old Habits?

Posted on January 11, 2011 by

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It happens every year. The little blue planet we call home completes its orbit around the Sun. It happens every year. We look at a new year and reflect on our past, hoping it will inform our choices for the next year to come. In fact, we even begin to take inventory of our lives, opportunities missed, successes in the face of defeat, victory and losses, choices and consequences. The sunset of a year with all its finality, brings with it the dawn of a new year filled with all its hope and possibilities.

Indeed, hope and possibilities are what we cling to. This year, I will be a better husband. This year, I will develop better discipline in my life so I can be a healthier person. This year, my child will be born and we must make sure the nursery is ready. This year, I will get back on my feet with this new job. This year, I will overcome my fears of loneliness. This year, I will become more responsible with my finances.

But with all these resolutions, are any of them about spiritual things? This year, I will focus more on learning the fundamentals of the faith. This year, I will stretch out more with compassion to help the poor, the sick, and the lost. This year, I will financially contribute to the work of the kingdom, according to how the Lord has prospered me. This year, I will be at the services of the saints.

We are indeed facing the open door of a new year, but what will we bring to it? We must always bring a humility grounded in the fragility of life (Jas. 4.14). We cannot control the length of our life, we are here today and then we vanish into the fog of history. But, in Christ life is beyond abundant (John 10.10).

We must also bring a humility which acknowledges the Lord’s providential care over our lives. Often we make plans months in advance, and build our lives around them, but the Lord may have other plans in mind (Jas. 4.13-17). Too many times we tend to think arrogantly; however, in Christ life is lived open to the providential nudging of God. Who best to be the author of our future!

We must also bring humility of preparation in order to take advantage of those moments of destiny. What appears to be the mistreatment by miscreants may in fact be the Lord’s hand at work for good (Gen. 50.20). We may begin the year as an overworked slave, and end it a Christian. We may in fact, begin our year as just an ordinary girl and end it as the mother of a future gospel preacher.

Finally, but not conclusively, we must bring humility of service to our Lord and to our neighbor. So many times we deceive ourselves that “hours logged” in the pew is equivalent to our Christian responsibility. It is true, attendance is an important element of our faith; however, if we are only “hearers” or “auditors” then we are treating the greatest faith as a mere academic exercise. Our service to God and humanity is described as love in action (Matt. 22.37-40).

The dawn has given way to the morning light; the New Year is here. Shall we greet it with our new choices, or with old habits? The choice is yours.

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