2015. Who’d have thought? And it seems to have arrived so quickly. I don’t mean to sound cliché, but time really does seem to be flying by. Someone suggested to me a while ago that when you’re ten years old, a year is one-tenth of your life. But when you’re much older, a year is proportionately much less of your life, and for that reason, seems to fly past much more quickly.
And maybe there’s something to that. I think it has something to do with being busy. When life is busy, there isn’t time to mull over the passing of time. You wake up one day and it has been and gone.
With each new year, there’s the temptation to make new year’s resolutions. I’m not given to making too many of them, but this year I’ll probably make a couple—one of them being to exercise more. There’s no reason for not doing it. It has something to do with prioritizing. And if you can’t make exercise a priority, it’s probably time to look at the big picture and make some changes.
New year’s resolutions can be productive. Lose weight. Exercise. (I picked a common one). Drink less alcohol, or none at all. Eat better. Keep in touch with so-and-so. Pray more.
But new year’s resolutions have a happy knack of lasting until about January 5, and then becoming a candidate for next year’s new year’s resolutions.
What about spiritual new year’s resolutions? I’ll pray more. Memorize more Scripture. Get more involved at church. Be a better person. Lose my temper less. Well, that’s all well and good. But in all likelihood, it doesn’t stand a great chance at success.
People often make God promises, but few people have a very good track record of keeping promises made to God. In the wilderness, the Israelites proclaimed, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.” (Exodus 19:8)
A few short weeks later they were worshipping a golden calf. So much for their promise! Peter told Jesus with as much sincerity as he could muster, “Though I should die with you, yet will I not deny you.” (Matthew 26:35)
And he meant it! The problem is, mere hours later, he forgot his promise to God and denied Jesus with as much vigor as he had earlier promised to serve Him.
Have you ever done that? Made promises to God that you later couldn’t keep? The answer is undoubtedly “yes.” I want to encourage you to make fewer promises to God. Or better yet, to make no promises to God. God doesn’t even want us to make promises to Him. Instead, simply believe the promises that He has made to you.
We’re told that through His promises, we can be partakers of the divine nature. (2 Peter 1:4) We all want that, but the how of it is the tricky part. We can be made like Jesus, but not through promising Him good behavior. Instead, the key is to believe His promises to us. Philippians 2:13 says, “It is God who works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.”
Not even Jesus pleased God through His own efforts. Although He cooperated with the working of His Father, he said, “The Father who dwells in me, He does the works.” (John 14:10)
God promises to work in our lives. When we accept that promise, claim that promise and believe that He will do what He says He will do, we can expect to see God do great things.
You won’t need to make another promise to God, ever. He doesn’t even want you to. His promises are enough. Believe them, and you’ll have a new year like you’ve never had before.