Tuesday, 1 January 2013

A resolution for a new year

It is one-and-a-half hours to midnight on the last day of 2012. For many, New Year's is a time of reflection. Most of us are on holiday and this is a time when we get a break from our normal routine and spend time resting and enjoying being with our families. We think about the year that has passed. For some it might have been a good year, for others a year of disappointment. We ask ourselves whether our expectations had been met, whether we have achieved our goals. It is as if we come up for a breath of fresh air before diving again into the ocean of daily life.

I am glad for a time like this. During the year I often find myself being so busy that I barely have time to stop and think about where I am and where I am going. When I look back at 2012 I regret that I have too often lost sight of the bigger picture, trying so hard just to survive from one day to the next that my life becomes filled with stress and worry about things which are not ultimately that important on the larger scale of life. I think part of the problem is that, as I pointed out last time, we tend to place all the importance on the things we can see, feel, and touch, while the more subtle things such as my relationship with God is often the first to go missing from our priority lists.

I have thought about this past year and what I would like to do differently in 2013, but I also know that New Year's resolutions have a reputation for not lasting very long. What I really need is not a long list of resolutions, but rather a principle that will help me to maintain perspective on a daily basis. I would much rather come up for air every day than taking one deep breath and only coming up again at the next New Year. For this reason I have made the following my New Year's resolution:
My first priority in all of life will be maintaining a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
How do you maintain a relationship? By spending time together. God speaks to me as I read the Bible and as I experience life, and I speak to Him through prayer. I believe that I will be able to maintain perspective as I spend time with God daily - thinking about Him, talking to Him, reading his Word.

I would like to refer back to Psalm 23. David says, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want." David says that having God, to him means having everything. There are many things that I want in 2013, but if I have the Lord, I already have everything that I need. Elsewhere David says, "Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart." (Psalm 37:4). When your focus is on God, He will take care of your needs and even give you lasting joy and peace. The rest of Psalm 23 explains how God takes care of our needs. He gives us peace, He leads us on the right path, He guides us during suffering and He deals with our enemies.

It is very nearly midnight, and fireworks will soon signal the end of 2012, and the beginning of a new year. I pray for myself and for you that 2013 will truly be a year of new beginnings, that we may daily experience new depths in a personal relationship with God himself.

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