As we move into a new year, we all seem to have preconceived notions that new beginnings will happen, COVID-19 will disappear, we will finally start exercising and eating right, we will read our Bibles more, pray more, be kinder, etc. But…why do we feel that January 1st holds so much power? Like all the sudden on January 1st the whole world gets their slate erased and a fresh start? Is this really the case? Has this ever happened? It would be nice, but in reality all of our problems will still be there on January 1st. People will still be struggling, people will still be grumpy, sad, depressed, and unmotivated. COVID-19 (unfortunately) will still be there. And most of us (ahem…guilty!) will give up on our new diet or exercise plan before January ends. Our busy lives continue after January 1st and the “Bible in Year” plan gets more and more behind every day.
Why do we wait until January 1st to implement life changes? Don’t get me wrong, I am firm believer in setting new goals. However, I believe we should be setting new goals for ourselves all the time, all year long. If you want to start reading your Bible everyday, start now! If you want to start living a healthier life, start now! If you want to be a nicer person to others, start now! (and start praying) Set small goals all the time, start by reading a few Bible verses a day, read a daily devotional like Our Daily Bread (always a winner!) Start walking around the block and cut out junk food. Set small goals and build on them all year long. Setting goals is how most successful people become that way. They are highly motivated, goal oriented people. Andrew Carnegie once said, “If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes.”
Setting goals all year long is definitely important, but it also takes a real change of the heart to see a real change. You cannot force change if you don’t really want it deep down inside. After January 1st our situation and our lives are not going to change, but our hearts can. Real change starts on the inside.
How can we truly change our hearts? By giving out hearts to Jesus. In the Book of Proverbs, God tells us, “My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.” (Proverbs 23:26) Pray about these changes you want to make. Pray about the new goals you will set. And remember, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthenth me.” (Philippians 4:13)
We can make our goals happen anytime. Maybe we cannot make COVID-19 disappear, but we can change the way react to it. Put your faith in Jesus and remove the fear from your heart. “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” (Isaiah 41:10)
Lord, I pray you will guide us all in 2021. Guide us in our personal lives, guide us in our spiritual walk and prayer life with you. Lord give us wisdom to do your will for your Kingdom. Help us put our faith in you! And Lord help us to give You our whole hearts! – In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray, Amen!