As I’m sure many of you already have, I’ve spent a lot of time considering my goals and priorities for this new year.
I don’t particularly like the term ‘New Year’s Resolution’ mainly because I think it leaves a bitter taste of disappointment in my mouth.
With years of failed resolutions to look back on, I don’t have much hope for anything to change with this New Year as I look forward into 2018.
Therefore, I have ‘resolved’ to not make any New Year’s Resolutions but to rather set new goals and new priorities in order to achieve one objective.
These are my goals and priorities for 2018:
Books of the Bible include 1 and 2 Peter, Genesis, Acts, and Habakkuk (for starters…)
Living by the Book by Howard Hendricks;
Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin;
None Like Him by Jen Wilkin; and
The Power of Prayer in a Believer’s Life by Charles Spurgeon
Conferences I Wish to Attend:
Writers on the Rock; and
TGC’s Listen and Live Women’s Conference
Seek First, 5-Week Curriculum;
Seek First, A 30-Day Challenge;
Publish Notes and Commentaries;
Introduce a speaking component to my ministry
While these are just a few things that I want to begin implementing in 2018, the purpose of them all is based in Matthew 6:33 – seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.
Even while I look forward into a new year with hope and anticipation for new things, I have also been challenged to not completely disregard 2017 and all that came with this previous year.
While the year might be changing numerically, it doesn’t necessarily mean that 2017 is gone and no longer relevant.
We can’t just wash our hands of 2017 no matter how much we might or might not want to.
As I wrestled with this, I thought of 2 Corinthians 5; a chapter that often comes to mind as it is one of my favorites.
One of the verses in this chapter that has always stood out to me is verse 17 – therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new has come.
Popular interpretation of this verse would have us believe that once you are found in Christ; once you accept Christ into your heart as your Lord and Savior, everything will be made brand new.
That isn’t necessarily true though.
Rather, Paul is explaining that when we are found in Christ, though our old circumstances remain the same, our standing with God undergoes a radical change.
Christ’s sacrifice provides us a mean by which we gain rightness with God and from there, can move forward in righteousness to carry out our ministry of reconciliation (vs. 18).
I think of this as I enter into a new year.
As I look forward into 2018, I know that I have much to be excited about.
I see the possibility for great things to happen this year; for prayers to be answered, goals to be accomplished, milestones to be crossed, and lessons to be learned.
I am truly hopeful.
Yet, I remain thankful and aware of the implications and consequences (good and bad) that 2017 will continue to have on my life.
I am still at the same job, I am still living in the same home, I still have those financial concerns, I still feel that sting of last year’s pain and confusion, I still have those extra 5 lbs. from the holidays, and I still have the memories of last year’s joys and hardships.
I still reside within my old circumstances, but I have the hope of 2 Corinthians 5:17, that every day I have the opportunity for a fresh start; to see the new come once again. Every day God shows me new mercies and new grace and reminds me of where I stand – in perfect rightness with Him because of His Son Jesus Christ.
I don’t need the ringing in of a new year to remind me of that.
So as you start this new year, be happy! Be joyful in the hope that 2018 has to offer, but never forget that true hope and true joy do not depend on an ‘annual fresh start.’
Behold, the new has already come. Take hold of the hope that Jesus Christ has to offer and start this year off in awe and adoration of His goodness and His grace.
Happy New Year!