The Pryor Times

December 27, 2012

Time for New Year’s resolutions

On the Go
Steve Lay

PRYOR — As we think about 2012 coming to a close and the beginning of a new year, it would be beneficial to consider what Paul wrote in Philippians 3:12-14.  He said, “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.  Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Paul realized that he was not perfect.  Before an individual decides to make New Year’s resolutions, he must recognize the fact that he is not perfect.  He must understand that there are some changes that he can make that will enable him to be a better person.  The first step to improvement is recognizing the need for it.  None of us is perfect.

In considering New Year’s resolutions, it is easy to set too many goals and then give up on those goals.  That is why most resolutions are broken within the first two weeks of the year.  Paul took the time and effort to determine what was really important.  He said, “But one thing I do.”  Decide what is really important and commit yourself to taking care of that.  Jesus had one main goal or purpose for coming to this earth.  He said in Luke 19:10, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”  That was the most important thing to Him.

Paul’s primary concern was the saving of his soul, as well as the souls of others.  He said, “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  If a person loses his soul, nothing else matters.  Jesus asks in Matthew 16:26, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”  Nothing is more important than our souls!

Paul knew that in order to press toward the goal of heaven, he had to forget those things that were behind him.  Paul had made some terrible mistakes in his life which could have haunted him and hindered his service to God.  Like Paul, we must forget about things in life that may hinder us in our progress toward heaven.

In the past, we may have had other priorities.  There may have been bad habits.  Maybe we allowed other interests to interfere with our worship and service to God.  Activities of the world can hinder our devotion to God if we are not careful.  Jesus said in Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”  Don’t allow things of the past to hinder your worship and service to God.

We must also forget about past accomplishments.  It can be tempting to dwell so much upon what we have done in the past that we fail to do what we should in the present and future.  Paul forgot the past and was “reaching forward to those things which are ahead.”  This involves constant progress.  Keep up your faithful service to God.

Jesus says we are to take up the cross daily and follow Him.  Every day, we will either draw closer to God, or we will drift farther away from Him.  As you consider resolutions for the upcoming year, choose something that will help you (and others) go to heaven.  Let me encourage each of you to focus on your goal every day, and like Paul, to press toward it.  It requires an ongoing effort.  Read your Bible every day, and pray every day.  Put God first in your life, and make sure that you are drawing closer to Him at all times.  I pray that all of you have a very prosperous and Happy New Year!