When this is sent out there will only be a little more than 100 hours left in 2017. New Year’s Day can bring up any number of emotions as we look back on the year that has been and look with hope or trepidation at the year that is coming. This is the whole basis for New Year’s resolutions, we see something we didn’t like in the past so we resolve to change it in the future. What better time than when the world is ticking over to a new year?
But what really changes on New Year’s Day other than the calendar? The people that love you on December 28 are probably still going to love you on January 3. You’ll probably still have the same boss, live in the same house, and pet the same dog. Big personal changes on New Year’s Day happen because someone makes a choice. Maybe you want to quit smoking, or volunteer more, or start a business, or lose weight, or read your Bible regularly, or any number of things that are within your realm of control. Great! Go for it! There’s no better time to start than right now.
The hardest part is doing these things for the right reasons. You don’t want to quit smoking to prove how strong willed you are; you do it so you can see your kids grow up. You don’t start volunteering so people are impressed by how charitable you are; you do it because you want to give out of the overflow of the blessings you’ve received. Most New Year’s Resolution fail by February because we get past the initial excitement of how great our life will be once we reach our goal and realize the amount of work that we will actually have to put in to make the changes we want.
As we stand at the end of 2017 not knowing what 2018 has in store for us, stand firm. Today, you have just broken your personal record for most consecutive days alive, and tomorrow I hope you’re able to do it again. Many of us will pick lofty goals for 2018, and it is my prayer that you all reach them. If you don’t, I hope you fail trying rather than fail watching.
As we fly headlong into 2018 I leave you with encouragement from Paul in 2 Timothy 4, “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction…But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry…I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”