As 2022 quickly comes to a close and the dawning of 2023 is upon us, many will be making resolutions. The practice of making resolutions actually dates back to at least the ancient Babylonians who reaffirmed their loyalty to the king and pledged to the gods to repay their debts and return borrowed objects. The Romans, under the leadership of Julius Caesar, modified the calendar to start the beginning of the year on January 1. January is derived from the god Janus, who is pictured on their coins as having two faces, one looking back and one looking forward. The Romans would sacrifice to Janus with a resolution to have proper conduct in the upcoming year. In Christianity, the practice of resolutions became a time of looking back over one’s past errors and sins in the most recent year and pledging to Christ to live a godly life in the coming year.
Today, New Year’s resolutions are primarily devoid of any connection to religious observances and are often secular in nature. Popular resolutions include such goals as beginning an exercise program, losing weight, stopping smoking, changing our diet, making a career change, spending more time with family, writing a book, saving money, and the like. Yes, I have made plenty of resolutions similar to some of these in the past only to find myself back in my old routine by February.
Today, I no longer make resolutions at the beginning of the year, but instead seek to spend time in reflection throughout the year on where God is leading me and leading TPOM. There are times when it is difficult to separate what is my own will versus discerning what God’s will is for this ministry. In spite of my human limitations in fully grasping the Lord’s plan for me, I do believe through a study of Scripture, prayer, and being observant of doors that God is opening, that this ministry exists for a divine purpose. We are here, not to just focus on our own human improvement, but to reflect on how God is calling each of us to bless the lives of others. In Philippians 2:4, Paul said: “. . . not looking to your own interests but to the interests of others.”
In a world today that is very commercialized and focused upon personal satisfaction, there is no greater blessing but to use our time, talents, and income to serve those whom society has generally abandoned. The rejected in our society live on our streets, under bridges, and in prison cells. Jesus came into this world in a very humble way and the message of the Advent was first told to the shepherds, the lowest profession of that day.
Whether you decide to make a personal resolution or not in the coming year, try to spend time in reflection of what God is calling you to do. What is his will for your life? Are there ways that God can use you to bless the life of someone else, someone less fortunate, someone who is struggling just to survive? If your refection leads you to TPOM or some other ministry, spend time in finding ways to “look out for the interests of others.” This is truly a resolution worth keeping.