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How's that New Year's resolution coming along?

Finding hope in the face of recurring disappointment.

Well, how’s it going?

As your pastor, I am always interested in hearing the answer to that question. Yet, today, I have a more specific intention in mind. How’s the New Year’s resolution going? Did you even bother making one?

We are now just over two weeks into the 2016 and, if studies are worth anything, this is the month that most people will do the most work towards achieving their resolution. Studies also show that by February most resolutions will be forgotten or abandoned. As for the resolutions themselves, a recent article in The Guardian suggested that the most common resolutions are loosing weight, getting fitter, eating better, and finding a better work-family balance (hopefully more family, less work).

I did not make a resolution this year. Why? I suppose it’s because I know how it works. I make some lofty goal, get behind, and then feel bad.

I think that we learn two basic things from resolutions.

First, we desire to be better. Whether it is becoming healthier, a more thoughtful spouse, parent, or friend, a better student, a more diligent worker, or even spending more time in the Scriptures - we all have a vision of ourselves that is better than we are right now. And that is a good thing! We should take care of the bodies God gave us. We should take our roles as spouse, sibling, friend, and worker seriously. We should attend to the reading of God’s Word because it is our Father’s love letter to us and instruction to his children. God calls us to pursue all of these goals.

The question is, will we ever get there? Will we truly be happy with ourselves the way we are after all the striving, or will there still be something left for us to ‘fix’? That leads me to the second thing about resolutions.

New Year’s resolutions teach us that we have a hard time living up to our own expectations – let alone the expectations of others (probably a prime motivator of many resolutions). Sure, there is always next year, and another opportunity for another resolution, but the reality for most of us it that we constantly find ourselves falling short of the mark. For some of us, it’s easier to just quit making the resolution, rather than dealing with the disappointment that comes from not meeting our goals for the year.

At this point, you’re perhaps thinking, this is a really depressing post! Well, we can’t have that. So, here are three other encouraging facts for you that the Scriptures teach us:

1. God has an even grander vision for our lives than we do!
2. God never fails on his resolutions!
3. God’s has resolved to rescue you from your futility, restore you to the person you were created to be, and bring you safely home.

In other words…

Q.  What is your only comfort in life and in death?

A.  That I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven; in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him (Heidelberg Question and Answer #1).

So, go ahead and make the resolution.

But, also, memorize the catechism!

May God bless you as you serve Him,

Pastor Michael 

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