New year, new resolutions, new hope, new beginnings…
I like to joke with people that I made my last new year’s resolution many years ago, and I’ve kept it ever since. I resolved never to make a New Year’s resolution ever again. I honestly never really got on with the whole new year’s resolution thing. Maybe it was because of my own laziness or inability to stick to a goal. Maybe it was how many people I had watched make resolutions and then not keep them. Whatever the reason, I never really held any stock in it.
In reality New Year’s resolutions can be a really great thing… especially if you own an exercise club! You don’t even have to advertise, people just suddenly show up at your door on the first of January! What if we made resolutions for things we really enjoyed. “I resolve to eat a piece of cheesecake every week this year.” “I resolve to go to the movies with my friends every month.” “I resolve to drink a cup of coffee with my breakfast every day!” These would be easy to keep because they are things we really enjoy doing and strive for. That might be part of the inspiration for Nöel Piper’s blog post “Never in January” (DesiringGod.org).
Here are a few highlights that stuck out to me as I read it.
“I kept my Bible handy. I often dropped it in my purse if I thought I might have reading time while I was out. At home, the Bible belonged on the kitchen counter, opened to the right place. Many times it called me away from dishwashing and into my easy chair.”
“I became a hunter, and my blue highlighter was my weapon. The prey was God’s attributes. I set out to underline everything the Bible says about God (didn’t want to set my sights too narrow!). I made blue stripes through all the names of God, word pictures about him, what he likes and dislikes, how he reacts to faithfulness and to sin. I was on my third pen when I finished.”
“I used my ‘finds’ to focus my thoughts on God. From my daily reading, I could choose a name or description of God and think of him in those terms all day. For instance, on a vacation afternoon when my four boys had been out of school one day too long, it helped to know God as a Rock who cannot be shaken. Or when we couldn’t see our way clear toward a decision we had to make, we still knew that God is our Light and our Salvation.”
“This year? I recently picked up an inexpensive paperback Bible and a new pink marking pen. This year I think I’ll hunt for God’s presence—all the times and circumstances when he promises he will be with us, that he will not leave us.”
The whole point of New Years resolutions is this: hope. Hope that things can be better than they were. Hope that we can be better than we were. That’s why we attempt to loose weight, exercise, eat healthy, and generally better ourselves. The same goes for the Bible reading.
We probably would better ourselves for this world if we accomplished these things, but I imagine with the New Year’s resolution failure rate, our eyes are better set on a better new beginning. The best new beginning actually comes at the end. The end of all things, well, things that are bound by time anyway. Revelation chapter 21, Jesus says,