January 1 promises renewal in the new year. The blank calendar beckons to be filled with plans and resolutions for becoming a better you.
Perhaps you promise yourself to more closely follow the Lord, to make time for prayer, to find and live your purpose in life through embracing a personal relationship with Jesus. Or perhaps you resolve to diet, to get more exercise, to take a class, to improve your knowledge and skills.
Whatever path you choose for the new year, recognize that God loves you for you, not for what you accomplish. Goals are good, but our intentions in pursuing them are more important. When our intention is to better love and serve God, and to love and serve others for His sake, that matters more than achieving the lofty goal you set. By acting for love of God, you sanctify your action and make it a sacrificial offering to Him. He can make it a success when you think you have failed.
Your New Year’s resolutions transcend yourself when they help you become the person He made you to be. He loves us and longs for us to be happy with Him and in Him. It is only there that we find the lasting joy and peace that are our inheritance as his beloved children.
So, with this context, develop your resolutions. What are mine? I’m going to try to improve my writing and communications to better share His love and beauty with others. I’ll renew my determination to give God priority, to give him the first and best part of my time in prayer, to seek His guidance in my decisions and actions throughout the day. To grow in knowledge that can help me better serve Him (and you), I’m taking a theology course online and reading the Bible in a year with Father Mike Schmitz’s popular Bible in a Year podcast. But the most important part is the simplest — to listen to Him, to sit before Him like Mary of Bethany, before I leap into action so that my actions might be grounded in Him.
May you have a blessed and happy New Year! May God protect you and guide you and make your heart glad.