A Prerequisite for New Years Resolutions
John Telgren

This is the time of year when many people are making resolutions, including Christians. Why is this? Even though there really isn't any difference between December 31st and January 1st, there is a sense that a new year is a new and fresh start.

Most resolutions go well only for a few short days, then they gradually get left behind. Whether it is losing weight, being less wasteful, stop smoking, etc., it seems that resolutions often are forgotten even before the end of January. Even when they sound spiritual, such as reading the Bible more, become more involved, it often seems that the result is the same.

Obviously, it has something to do with motivation. For many people, the motivation is not very strong. Often it is nothing more than, "this is a nice thing to do." Our motivation as Christians should be much deeper than this. Paul said "the love of Christ compels us" (2 Cor 5:14). The strongest motivator is love. It is a deeper and longer lasting motive that even fear. It is what moved God to stay loyal and devoted to an obstinate and stiff-necked people all throughout the Old Testament. It is what motivated Christ to leave Heaven and live a life on the earth that ended in rejection and crucifixion. It is what God desires to put in our hearts and part of the fruit of the Spirit.

How do you grow in love for God, for the brethren, and even for the lost? In order for this to happen, there has to be regular communion with God. Part of this communion involves spending time in the word. The Word is inspired (2 Tim 3:16), which means it is God's breath, it is Spirit, it is life (Jn 6:63). Life is knowing God (Jn 17:3), and you cannot have life without the breath of God, the Spirit of God, the very Word of God.

Part of this communion also involves spending time in prayer. Spending time in the word and in prayer go hand in hand because you are reading the very word of God. Prayer is not just a periodic activity, but a mindset throughout the day (1 Thess 5:17). If God is a constant presence in your life, then a demeanor of prayer should characterize us every moment of every day.

Part of this communion also involves times of reflection. This reflection, or "meditation," makes you like a firmly planted tree by the waters of life that strengthen you and enable you to bear fruit (Psalm 1). In other words, it is through time in the word, prayer, and reflection that you can most effectively be transformed in godliness.

With this, you can grow in your love for God and have the strength that only He can give you for doing His work. This should be part of the "diligence" in being his workman.

Now, spend some time reflecting on this passage: "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth (2 Tim 2:15)."