Each New Year's, millions of us make made-to-be-broken New Year's resolutions.
We say, this year I'm going to lose weight; I'm going to work out more. I'm not going to fall for that same old you-spilled-something-on-your-shirt joke. Ha.
Some time ago, I read some suggestions from Tobin Perry regarding five commitments we should make that will change our world as we begin this new year/decade. It is good counsel to take.
* Seek reconciliation for a broken relationship.
"Be angry and do not sin and do not let the sun go down on your anger" (Ephesians 4:26).
Is there someone from your past that you no longer talk to because of a wrong either you or the other person committed? Take a few moments to write down a name. Make a commitment to call or write or visit that person today. You have nothing to apologize for? Break the ice by coming clean with any possible part you could have played in the disagreement.
You can't control their reaction, but you can control your response to this biblical command. And remember, this is a command from God -- not some self-help guru. Going to bed tonight without seeking reconciliation is disobeying God.
* Meet God for an extended "State of Your Life" address.
"And it was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God" (Luke 6:12).
Every year the president goes before Congress to report on the state of the union. Many CEOs go in front of their company's stockholders to report the state of the company. The beginning of the year is a good time for your own "State of My Life" encounter with God.
In reality, this is a time to hear God's report on what's going on in your life and what he thinks about it. We find Jesus doing this in the gospel of Luke; it was an incredibly crucial point in his ministry. Even though he was God, he needed to get his Heavenly Father's perspective on the matter.
And so do you. God has great plans for you this year. He wants to tell you about them. So find a quiet place; grab your Bible, a notebook and a pen, and take stock of your life. Chat with God about where you've been over the past year. Talk with him about where you are going in this next year.
* Do something helpful for someone else that you don't want to do.
"Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded" (John 13:5.)
We live in a gratification-orientated culture. If it feels good, do it. Jesus -- by his very example -- calls us to a different kind of life. Being an other-focused person means choosing to help, whether we would like to or not.
Jesus' example of washing his disciples' feet is still a remarkable picture of how to serve. Not only was Jesus doing something that was certainly not pleasant (have you ever washed someone's feet after they'd walked filthy streets all day in sandals?), but he was doing something useful and helping the disciples in a practical way.
Look for someone in your life who has a need that most people -- including you -- don't want to do. Then do it.
* Share your story of faith with someone.
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations ... (Matthew 28:19).
Commit to sharing your faith with more people this coming year. Write the person's name down (even if you have to write down "the guy behind the counter at the fast food place"), and keep the name somewhere so you'll see it often as reminder. And just do it.
Then pray for an opportunity to arise for you to share with them the hope that lies within you.
* Give God the part of your life that you've never given before.
"If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me" (Matthew 19:21, NASB).
In the book of Mathew, a rich man asked Jesus what it took to have eternal life. Jesus didn't tell him to go do a bunch of good things. He didn't say "drop to your knees and worship me."
He simply told the rich man to do what God had told him to do. When the rich man pressed him for particulars, he told him to give up all of his riches. Why? Because that's what this man held on to the most.
God wants whatever you treasure the most because he wants to be what you treasure the most.
Find a tangible way this year to show God you are giving up what you treasure. If food is what you treasure the most, then as an act of worship, take all the junk food in your closet and take them to a nearby food bank. If your car or house is what you treasure the most, begin to use them as tools to serve God. If you are not yet tithing, then start.
You can't fool God. If you are not making him Lord of all, including your money, then he is not Lord at all.
These New Year's goals will bring about a brand-new you who will begin to look remarkably like the Jesus whom we love serve and seek to model our lives after.
Wishing you a prosperous new year.
Kyle Ermoian is the founding and senior pastor at Celebration Community Church in Hays