In 2002, I’m Gonna
The end of one year and the beginning of the next is a time of introspection for many people. Was 2001 a good year for me? What will I do with the new year?
Those of you who have reached the pinnacle of perfection (pretty lonely up there, isn’t it?) can stop reading this. I’m writing for those of us who can still stand to improve and wish to do so. We’re going to make some resolutions to improve our lives in the year 2002.
The standing joke about resolutions is that we make them on January 1st, break them on the 2nd and forget them by the end of the month! May I suggest that we approach the making of resolutions a little more serious this year? Can we give them a spiritual emphasis?
Resolutions involve introspection (self-examination) and aim (purpose). Before we can plot a plan to improve, we need to honestly assess where we are now. We must identify those areas of our character which need improvement. Self-examination can be a painful process because we don’t always like what we see in ourselves. However, it benefits those who are willing to view their character as revealed by the perfect law of liberty (James 1:22-25).
Even the best plan for change is flawed if it points us in the wrong direction! What kind of person do I want to be? I can’t make good resolutions until I know where it is that I want to go. God intends for His spiritual children to manifest the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives. We can bear the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) by allowing the Word of God (revealed by the Holy Spirit) to guide our daily steps.
Those who are called Christians have crucified the old man of sin and they put on the new man "which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness" (Ephesians 4:24). The new man speaks the truth, doesn’t harbor anger or steal from others. He is careful about his speech and refrains from bitterness. He is kind and tenderhearted toward others and forgives others (Ephesians 4:25-32).
Sometimes resolutions are broken and quickly forgotten because they are unrealistic. We bite off more in the character reshaping department than we can possibly chew. For the couch potato, perhaps the resolution to walk a mile every day is more realistic than "I will become a world-class sprinter." Instead of "I will give half of my income to the poor," perhaps "I will help someone in need each week" is more realistic.
Many resolutions die a quick death because they are too general. Resolutions need to be as specific as possible. Rather than "I’m going to be a better person," perhaps "I’m going to control my speech so that I don’t speak in anger" would be better. We have to be able to measure our progress.
So, what are you gonna do in 2002?