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Footsteps to Follow: Resolutions revisited

We are into our second month of 2021, and by now, many of the good intention resolutions that were made in January are gone as we have slowly returned to our former lifestyles.

Some of the traditional New Year’s resolutions are to lose weight, eat smarter, exercise more, stick to a budget, save money, get more organized, be more patient, and just be a better person.

Perhaps we should avoid drastic change by focusing on our current positive qualities and work to develop slight improvements. Examples might be spending an extra hour reading each week, having a healthy snack once a week instead of potato chips, laughing a little louder, smiling a little bigger, loving a little deeper and walking through life a little slower. Changes like these are not only attainable goals but will result in feelings of improved self-worth.

Paul says in Philippians 3 that methods for reaching a goal included the preliminary activity of forgetting the past and developing a plan by straining toward what is ahead.

Paul “strained” toward his goal (vs 12-14 NIV). We have to do the same with our resolutions.

God speaks to change in the Scriptures. In Isaiah 65: “See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind … the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more.”

Isaiah 49:19 further emphasizes this with these words: “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?”

Revelation 21:5 finalizes the concept, “He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” God has made resolutions that are actually promises, promises that will never be broken.

His words ring true for us in this new year and forever.

We are now approaching the season of Lent. Tradition says to give something up – another type of resolution. The point of giving things up isn’t to be reminded of how much we miss them, but rather to be awakened to how much we miss God and long for his life-giving Spirit.

So Lent can be about giving up and adding things, God-things. If you give up isolation, how will you immerse yourself in community? If you give up unnecessary shopping, will you see those who need clothing in your city?

If you give up selfish thoughts and actions, how will you meet the needs of others?

It is not a contest. Just make your aim to know Christ more fully and trust him to lead you. Seek to replace that thing with devotion to Christ–His Word and His mission. Resolutions can work for a closeness to God.

Blessings to you and your family. Have a happy, safe, prosperous, and blessed 2021.

Richard DeMarte is the Pastor of the Clarkstown, Huntersville, and Pennsdale Trinity Charge of the United Methodist Church.

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