At the beginning of each year, millions of Americans make new year’s resolutions. Common resolutions include eating healthier, saving more money, quitting smoking, or learning a new skill. All of those are great things.
But the reason why we create new year’s resolutions is because there are areas in our life where we know we should be doing something and where we aren’t. Maybe it’s something we’ve tried and failed at before, but new year’s gives a sense of optimism. I think before we focus on anything else in 2019, our resolution should be to start (or continue) living each day for God.
We can feel like we want to get all of our ducks in a row before we can make time for faith. There are always reasons to not pursue God. There are always things that come up, difficulties we have. If we wait until everything is perfect before we do something, it never happens.
We might want to wait until things settle down at work, or we might have an area of our life where we know we’re falling short and we don’t feel like we can be as serious about faith. We might think “I can’t do it now. I drink way too much.” Or “I can’t do it right now, I have too many anger issues, I have this area that is out of control.”
But it’s not about taking care of ourselves first and then developing faith. God meets you where you are. No matter what struggles you’re in, no matter what imperfections of your life or places of darkness you have, God wants you to pursue him. this. moment.
I think a lot of people get it backwards.
Someone might know that he or she wants to get more involved in church or to get more committed to faith and it doesn’t happen. Or you’re coming to church but you know that you’re just going through the motions. For some of us, we haven’t picked up the Bible in weeks. For others, we haven’t really prayed to God on our own in months.
For many of us, we do have faith. We do believe that Jesus is God and that he died for our sins. But the hustle and bustle of life makes us complacent. When we have the time to focus on faith, a million other distractions compete for our time. And it’s always going to be easier to turn on the tv or the computer than to pick up a Bible.
The Greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, strength, and mind and to love your neighbor as yourself. To love God with everything you have. It was never meant to be a passive thing that we do on the side.
Maybe there’s a part of your soul that knows that you’re not pursuing God like you should. You know that you have the gifts to grow with God and to love and serve others and to build up God’s Church, but you just can’t seem to get started. You look to that future you and know you’d be happier, you know it’s what God wants.
But you’re never going to get to that point if you don’t start making God your priority. If faith isn’t something that’s developed, and we’re not pursuing God, then our relationship with him will never possibly be what it could be.
As I said, any number of resolutions can be beneficial for us, but there’s no better use of our time than continually making God our first priority. If you know in your heart you haven’t been doing that, then make 2019 the year you take your relationship with God to a new level. Let us all make that our first priority this year.
For all of you, I hope that it can be a year where we start that new career, or where we see healing in that broken relationship. I pray that those of us who are healthy can see that continue in 2017 and that those of us who have health issues can see healing and God working in their lives. But most importantly, the hope is that from this moment, the last day of 2017 to this same time next year, that 2017 can be a time of getting to know God better, of loving him more, of giving more of ourselves to him, to serving more, and loving more.
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Josh Benner is the associate pastor at Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church in Fergus Falls, Minnesota and has a Master of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He enjoys writing about faith and culture. He lives with his wife Kari in Minnesota.