New years resolutions
January provides us with an opportunity to take stock of our lives and give thoughtful consideration to our future. They ask important questions like where am I going? How am I going to get there and will there be a place to park. It’s the time for New Year’s resolutions. Most people make pie crust promises; easily made, easily broken.
There are some fair dinkum questions that we should be asking at the beginning of the New Year. Why do so many of us find it difficult to change? If we could do just one thing of value this New Year what would it be?
Here is a useful list I use myself as a measuring stick to see where I am at.
• Live by the scriptures: be joyfull
• Submit to discipline: Be accountable
• Learn to praise God continually: be thankful
• Cultivate right relationships: be connected
• Protect and guard your thought life: be disciplined
On the last point I would like to expand a little, The Bible says as a man thinks in his heart (read his gut) so is he. Our focus can determine who we become. Its our daily practice that moulds our character.
Focus on the Good
When the devil in the garden wanted to tempt Adam and Eve, he didn’t point out all the good things that God had given them. He convinced them that God was holding out on them. He got them to focus on the one thing God had forbidden them to partake of. In this way their picture of God is tainted and God appeared a miser, who was keeping something for himself.
In reality God gives us so many things to enjoy richly. It may be a sunset, the sound of birds chirping. You owe him your very next breath. A useful exercise to do is to make a list of all the things that you are thankful for, no matter how seemingly insignificant. This may take several months to do, but just keep adding to it and review it regularly. A friend of mine in England who tended to get depressed did this exercise and was astonished to find that her list was over a thousand.
A similar list is found in Paul’s letter to the Galatians; “Against such things there is no law.” Paul encourages us similarly when he writes;
“ Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things”.
Our focus is going to be somewhere, we as humans are creatures of habit and we tend to obsess over things. We tend to spend an inordinate amount of energy and time thinking and worrying about what may never happen. We are encouraged to overcome evil with Good. That means not just avoid thinking bad thoughts, but to actively replace them with good ones.