The concept of the “new year” is pregnant with excitement about fresh things that lie ahead and destructive things we are determined to leave behind.
In the midst of any number of personal wellness goals, the Bible gives us lasting wisdom about what you can leave in 2018 and take hold of starting today, January 1st, 2019.
1. Leave Worry. Take Trust.
That the omnipotent God of the universe who by the very force of His will brought all contingent reality into existence condescends to be called our Heavenly Father is one of Scripture’s most awesome and mind-blowing truths.
And it is this truth which forms the basis of why Jesus commands us to trade worry for trust in the One who knows our most basic needs even before we do:
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its ownMatthew 6:31-34
2. Leave Selfish Ambition. Take Reliance on God.
In sharing the Gospel, I constantly meet people hurtling toward everything they want in life at breakneck speed, fully convinced that with all there is to do and become, God is simply not worth an investment of their time.
Such people are like the fictional rich man Jesus spoke of who dreamed of selling his lucrative grain to buy bigger and better silos so he could one day sit back and relax even wealthier than before.
The only problem is this poor rich man would not last the night before God demanded of him his very soul (see Luke 12:16-21).
James addresses a similar issue in the book he wrote:
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:13-15)
Selfish ambition is a form of practical atheism of which even believers can be guilty.
This happens when we work and plan and strive and hustle without reference to the very God who gave us the life, health, and employment necessary to make those things possible.
The antidote to a selfish drive for more is to be rich toward God, acknowledge His will in everything we do, and watch how He directs our steps.
3. Leave laziness. Take a Kingdom-focus.
Opposite selfish ambition are those who cannot be bothered take anything seriously at all.
Without any goals or a vision for life, they wish their hours away for 5 p.m. and their days away for the weekend.
Cruising through life without a care, they don’t realize how soon the end can sneak up on any one of us–no do-overs allowed.
On the contrary, the Bible call us to “redeem the time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:16), “encourage one other, and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25), and “devote [ourselves] to doing what is good” (Titus 3:14).
The sheer extent and utter importance of the work of the Lord before us ought to shock us out of our apathy and sloth.
As churches, families, friend groups, and individuals, we ought to set audacious goals for seeing the Kingdom of God advanced in 2019 and gather regularly to keep one another accountable in meeting them.
So don’t let the new year take you by surprise. Trust in God, rely on God, and work dutifully out of love for God. The best resolutions are the ones with an eternal timestamp.