Usually, I do not take New Year resolutions seriously except as an opportunity for humor or sermons. However, I know people who make significant progress by setting goals for the New Year. The best advice is from Jesus, in Matthew 22:37-39:
“Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.’
“This is the first and great commandment.
“And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”
I like what Jesus said about loving God; that helps set our priorities. Putting God first means that our love of family and others will be deeper. Our practice of loving God will be an example that speaks louder than our words:
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
I like what Jesus said about loving neighbor; that establishes how we treat others. Loving others helps us respond to the needs and concerns of others. We see the need and find ways to help.
I like what Jesus said about loving yourself; that allows us to feel comfortable in our own skin and take care of ourselves by exercising, eating right and living a balanced life. Loving God and neighbor allows you to love yourself without being selfish.
God brings the balance in 2013.
Peter Hawker, First United Methodist Church, Anniston
Start with small steps
Henry David Thoreau said, “Things do not change; we change.”
As New Year’s resolutions go, there cannot be a more effective one than putting into practice Jesus’ very clear directive in Luke 10:27: “He said, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with your entire mind, and your neighbor as yourself.’”
This year, rather than concentrate on ourselves and initiate another futile attempt at yet another round of resolutions that, like their predecessors, are doomed to fall by the wayside, let’s shift our focus and energies to loving Him and others as we do ourselves.
The resolve to change is so often short-lived because we are creatures of habit. Habits, good and bad, are developed over time and with repetition. The challenge is to take the first 21 days of the year and create a new pattern and paradigm in your life. Every day, choose to do something for someone else.
The holiday season is a good time to share of ourselves with others, but why limit the good will? Take the challenge and create the change you want by reaching out to others.
Small steps make great strides when practiced daily. When you change the way you are looking at things, the things you are looking at will begin to change, including you.
Beverly Mattox, Word Alive International Outreach