As we are closing out 2016 and entering the brand new year of 2017, I have been thinking a lot about new starts. It is no secret that 2016 has been a year of turmoil, and I think we can all agree that we hope for a better 2017 all around. Just as every other year, as we close out one year and jump into the next, people everywhere are talking about their New Year’s Resolutions. Whether it be getting healthier with eating habits and exercise (I really need to get back to the gym), trying to be better with your finances, improving your relationships, or whatever else you can think of, New Year’s Resolutions are very popular.
The frustrating thing for me, however, is that no matter what resolutions I try to make, they never seem to last past February (sometimes not even that long). My guess is that you can relate. Think about it. Gyms are packed in January, but over the next month or so, space frees up more and more, because people just drop out. Why? Why do we make these resolutions to make major changes in our lives at the start of a new year, and then not follow through?
Do not get me wrong here. I am not arguing against making resolutions. What I am getting at, however, is that we may need to make some changes in why and how we make those resolutions so we can finally stick with them. In all honesty, we need a change in perspective in how we see the world and our motivation in doing anything.
We make these resolutions because we want a better life. We want to lose weight, get out of debt, have better relationships, or advance in our careers by strengthening our work ethic. None of those things are bad. In fact, you could argue that they are really good things. But if your motivation is only about being a better version of yourself so that you feel better about yourself, then that may be why we fail at sticking to the changes we set out to make. Think about it. If you are making changes for selfish reasons, the minute something gets difficult, it is easier to stop. Our motivation runs out.
If you are a Christ-follower (or even if you are not yet), there is a shift in perspective that can help us all make changes for the better in our lives…and actually stick with them. Now before I go any further, I want to point this out. This is not “magic”. It will not be easy to make this shift, because our human nature will fight it. So it is something that you will have to work at (I am still fighting the battle to make this shift myself).
Paul writes in Colossians 3:22-25; “22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25 Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism.”
Do not get caught up in the word slave there. When we are doing things for ourselves, we can become slaves to selfishness. What I want you to focus on is verse 23. Basically, the shift I am writing to you about today is starting to do everything we do for God not ourselves or another person. When we can make that shift, our motivation and our perspective changes, and maybe we can finally start making improvements in our own lives as well.
Thoughts From a Crosseyed Jesus Freak