New Year, New Beginnings

By: American Decency Staff


A New Year means new beginnings! We've all got things we'd like to change or do better, and the New Year gives us hope that we can do that. According to the University of Scranton as of January 1, 2014, around 45% of Americans make a resolution for change at the dawn of the new year.

That same study from 2014 listed the top 10 resolutions for this past year.

1. Lose Weight
2. Getting Organized
3. Spend Less, Save More
4. Enjoy Life to the Fullest
5. Staying Fit and Healthy
6. Learn Something Exciting
7. Quit Smoking
8. Help Others in Their Dreams
9. Fall in Love
10. Spend More Time with Family

I've tried to make a few of those changes myself, but the fact remains that I only lose weight if I get sick and we may never know for sure whether I can run a complete mile. I'm sure some of you readers can relate.

Now, you may not want to hear this, but if the University of Scranton's statistics hold up, only 8% of those newly resolved Americans actually succeeded in making those changes.

Instead, most of us will be stuck with a version of ourselves at the end of the year that's pretty similar to the one at the beginning.

In a recent video, author, speaker, and retired pastor John Piper went to the Bible to find the right way to make, and keep, resolutions.

 From 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12: "To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ."

Here's how John Piper breaks it down.

"Paul prays that OUR resolves would become works of OUR faith by reliance on GOD'S power and GOD'S grace…. You [make resolutions] by God's grace, through faith in God's power, for God's glory."

As you consider the changes you'd like to make in the coming year, then, consider your motivation. For whose glory will you be working for change?

Think about your method of change. Real change is rarely achieved by white-knuckling the problem all on your own. Do you have faith that God will help you to work out your faith in your life?

And remember that successful change is a gracious gift of God; left to ourselves, there would be no success stories or turn-arounds.

James says "Every good and perfect gift is from above."

Here's the good news, though, even if you're not part of the 8% who will keep their New Year's resolution; in 2015, as in every year, month, and moment, for those who rely on the righteousness of Christ for salvation, God already sees us as good enough!

We can and should do our best to lead healthy, holy, thankful lives, but there is "no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!"

That means whether you're part of that determined 8% or not, you can have a happy new year; and we hope you do!

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