A New Year: A Resolved Heart

The passing of time, of seasons and of years, is a gift of God to us. He constantly offers us new beginnings, fresh opportunities. We often need to be shifted out of the doldrums or blatant failures and sins and to refresh, renew, and restart.   The beginning of a New Year always reminds me of this worthy goal. It’s time to take an honest look at myself and evaluate my areas of weakness as well as how the Lord has grown me. On this date 365 days from now I don’t want to be the same me that’s closing out this year. I want to know God better, be knitted to His heart even closer.  I want to be more like Christ, less sinful and have grown wiser.

So I look back today on 2018 and evaluate myself as honestly as possible by His measuring stick. Have I grown in the fruit of the Spirit?   Am I more like Christ in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control? (Gal. 5:23-24). Did I love my family sacrificially and my enemies likewise? Did I practice less of me and more of Him in my daily pursuits?  Which weighed heavier: giving or receiving? Was I content with leanness or much in earthly possessions?  Was I anxious, fearful, angry or was I peaceful, dependent, and long suffering?  Were my priorities in order; infused with love of God in my every moment, and focusing my hours on my husband, children and in serving my church above all other worldly pulls?

What scripture did I learn or memorize?  What truths did I apply to my life?  What books did I read to grow in my understanding? What friendships grew? Which faded that needed to? Which memories require writing down or remembering to tell the next generation about His faithfulness? Which failures or sins did I learn from that I don’t want to return to? How did I guard my heart against the desires of the flesh?

Along with Paul in Philippians 3:13-14 I then say, “…but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  So after that evaluation I now look to the future.  I enjoy the quote from Lucy Maude Montgomery: “Tomorrow is fresh with no mistakes in it.”  Proverbs 31:25 says it this way: “Strength and dignity are her clothing, And she smiles at the future.”  I choose to smile at the future knowing God’s faithfulness from eternity past through eternity future. Whatever this coming year brings I want to be prepared in my heart, foremost, to trust Him implicitly, count my blessings, rejoice always, be thankful, praise Him, and emulate and exalt my Lord and Savior.

I have learned to make resolutions, but to be completely flexible with the flow of life and needs that change.  “The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9 reminds us.

Take some time to consider how you will seek to become more like Christ this year. Write down changes you’d like to see in your heart. Write down practical steps you will seek to take in the spiritual disciplines. Choose several books you would like to read to grow your heart and mind and stack them in a convenient reading spot. Consider having the whole family participate in setting goals for themselves and the family for the year. Don’t ignore practical goals that may include financial goals, vacation plans, hospitality commands and church involvement, as well. Enjoy this opportunity to look back,  and then to look forward.

It’s important to remember that we do this all with the Lord’s help. He must be the one to change us, to give us new desires, “work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure..” (Philippians 2:12-13). We must labor with fear and trembling knowing God is in the business of changing our hearts.

Resolve today to labor in every area of your lives, making no provision for the flesh, for Christ’s sake.