It is that time of year again where we find ourselves setting goals and making resolutions that, according to Statistic Brain only 8% are successful in achieving. I will be honest with you. I use to make diet resolutions every year and by two weeks, losing weight sounded foreign to me.
This past year has had its ups and downs. It was a year full of busy seasons, quiet seasons, and wilderness seasons (a lot of these). This year, instead of resolutions, I have chosen to make commitments to myself and God. I want to share them with you in the hopes that they will help you start off the new year right.
1. Commit to forgetting your failures.
Paul gives us the best advice for this in Phil. 3:13-14, "Forgetting what is behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on towards the goal for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus." Don't let last years failures hold you down in the new year.
The more you continue to dwell on the past, the longer it will keep you from moving forward into where God is leading you.
Choose this year to be the year that you stop being chained to your past and past failures.
Jesus died on the Cross so that you would be forgiven. When we have received Christ’s forgiveness it allows us to forgive ourselves and forget our failures. So, if you haven't done so, it's time to forgive yourself.
2. Commit to letting go of any grudges.
Carefully listen and meditate on this verse; "Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye" (Col. 3:13). Jesus is personally challenging you in this passage to let go of any and all grudges. To forgive the faults and wrong doings of others, as He too, has forgiven all of yours.
What’s a grudge? A grudge is a deep ongoing resentment that we cultivate in our hearts against someone else.
A grudge is an unforgiving spirit that leads to unforgiving attitudes and unforgiving actions. Now I know you know what I am talking about.
Harboring a grudge is about nursing a dislike for someone. What you need to know is that grudges are dangerous because they are destructive. Grudges destroy marriages. Grudges break up families. Grudges ruin friendships. Grudges split churches.
God says that that deep-seated resentment you have against that person has to go. What better time to make that difficult decision to forgive than the start of a new year?
3. Commit to restoring your broken relationships.
We are challenged in Romans 12:18, “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” Notice how he tells us, do all that we can? By using that phrase, we are personally being challenged to do all we can to restore our relationships.
Some relationships might have gone wrong because of what other people have done and they may not want that relationship restored. God recognizes that. That is why Paul starts by saying “If its possible." So if you've done something that possibly caused a rift in the relationship, then it's time to do your part in trying to restore it.
I once read a quote by Keith Drury that says,
"Restitution deals with more than property. It is also going back and making things right for hurtful things I’ve said or done. It’s far easier for me to tell you some story than to tell you of the difficult and painful times I’ve had to ask my wife, my boys, my boss, friends and secretary to forgive me. Restitution is asking forgiveness for harsh words, quick tongue, or cutting remarks. It is asking forgiveness from a brother you hurt, a mother you caused heartache to, or a former spouse which you maligned. Restitution is confessing and seeking forgiveness from an old business partner, neighbor, or roommate. It is admitting my past errors in relationships and humbly seeking forgiveness from the one I’ve hurt. And it’s harder to make personal restitution than property restitution."
Hard as it may be—it will be one of the most significant things that you can do to kick-start the New Year. Admit your past errors in relationships and humbly seek forgiveness from the ones you have hurt.
Will you rise to that challenge and make a commitment to restore your broken relationships in this new year?
4. Commit to turning away from sin.
Romans 6 tells us, "Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to its lustful desires." For most of us when we are saved we give up certain sins easily, but there are other things that we know are wrong that we really battle with still.
Is there a sexual sin that you keep on giving in to? Have you been going too far with your boyfriend? Have you been secretly watching pornography?
This verse challenges all of us to turn away from all of these things. Stop letting those sins control your life. Start dying to yourself and living for God. Start obeying God your master and not your flesh.
Christ broke the power of sin when He died on the cross for you 2,000 years ago, so you don't have to continue another year still being defeated by the same sin. You are no longer a slave to it, so stop acting like one.