It’s Resolution Time Again
Published 3:22 pm Friday, December 30, 2022
By Kyle Miller
Where did 2022 go? It seems the older I get, the faster the years go by. I heard of this phenomenon as a child, but to experience it is really something. As we move into another new calendar year, the practice of making New Year’s resolutions comes into focus. Many of us will think back on 2022 and create a list of things we want to change moving forward. Due to previous failures, many people will resolve to make no resolutions, but there are those who will seize the opportunity for a fresh start. Some will resolve to eat less and exercise more, others to resume educational dreams or launch new business endeavors, and a few of us will resolve to dismantle our Christmas decorations before summer comes around…but I digress.
While I typically avoid resolutions connected to the changing of the calendar, I do take the opportunity to reflect on the past year. Both successes and failures are found looking back, but we must exercise caution. There is a big difference between observation and obsession. Remembering and reflecting on our successes can instill us with the confidence necessary to move forward, elevating us to greater places. And yet at the same time, obsessing over those same successes can foster pride and arrogance that will ultimately bring disaster. The same is true concerning our failures. Obsessing over can crush our hopes and dreams, and paralyze us. While this is true in life, it is certainly true in our life of faith.
The apostle Paul was speaking his own growth in the things of God. Paul, who was arguably the greatest evangelist in history and to whom is credited with penning approximately 28% of the New Testament, recognized the necessity of looking forward. Paul’s life was filled with incredible events, both good and bad. As Saul—prior to his name change—he brought incredible persecution to the New Testament church. After his conversion, he was largely responsible for bringing the Gospel to all parts of the Roman Empire and beyond. He stood before mighty leaders and met Jesus face-to-face. Yet in all these things, Paul looked forward, not backward. Paul wrote of his own faith, “…but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3: 13b-14)
Any farmer will tell you that it’s difficult to plow a straight row if you’re watching the disks you’re pulling. In order to plow in a straight line the farmer has to keep his eyes on where he’s going, not where he’s been. As he keeps his eyes on the destination, he will keep the rows in order. Can’t identify with a farmer? Try walking the boardwalk downtown while looking behind you. You could end up all-wet!
Here’s what I’m trying to say. Your past, whether good or bad, is in the past. I don’t believe that your past defines you or controls you unless you allow it. As Christians, our past can be an incredible hindrance to our forward progress. None of us are without faults and failures, but, if we keep our eyes on Jesus and leave the past in the past, we can find success, peace, and joy. If you are looking for a meaningful New Year’s resolution that can change your life, you may have just found it.
Happy New Year
Kyle Miller is the senior pastor at Washington Assembly of God church.