Summary: This is the first sermon in a three part series that calls us to make a commitment to God not just a resolution. It encourages folks to look back and try and figure out where they got off track and right their course.
Well here we are entering a brand New Year, its funny how we see the mark of a New Year on the calendar as a place to start over even if it’s just another day. A lot of people make New Year’s resolutions, things like losing weight, going on a diet, or spending less money and making more to try and get out of debt. People have made a lot of resolutions at the beginning of 2018.
Now the word resolution defined in the Cambridge dictionary means a promise to yourself to do or to not do something The Urban dictionary defines it as this; a goal that you propose then forget the next day.
Commitment according to the Cambridge dictionary means - a willingness to give your time and energy to something that you believe in, or a promise or firm decision to do something
Urban dictionary defines Commitment by saying it is what Transforms the promise into reality. It is the words that speak boldly of your intentions. And the actions which speak louder than the words. It is making the time when there is none. Coming through time After time after time, Year after year after year. Commitment is the stuff Character is made of; the power to change the face of things. It is the daily triumph of integrity over skepticism.
As Christians we need to be making commitments not resolutions. We need to make a commitment to get back on track in our walk of faith. But in order to get back on track we have got to know where we got off track, we need to know where we took a wrong turn, and we need to know how far off course we are in order to adjust our path in the right direction. And to do that we must look in the rear view, we must evaluate where we have been in order to correct the direction in which we are going.
I remember when I took an Overland Search and Rescue course that we were taught how to navigate using a compass. We were given a map, a compass and coordinates with specific waypoints to reach. Now I want you to understand getting from point A to Point B isn’t as easy as it sounds when you’re walking in the hills and hollows of some Mississippi Woods and sometimes you wouldn’t reach the waypoint on the first try and you would have to get back on track. Well to get back on track you had to figure out where you got off track. Now you didn’t have to backtrack all the way to point a if you could look at the map or either look where you had been and realize when you started to veer off, then all you had to do was make a small adjustment and continue moving forward until you reached the next set of coordinates and then you moved on from there until you reached your final destination.
That’s how it is with our Christian walk, we set a course with our eyes on the finish line and then stuff gets in our way and we lose sight of the direction that we need to go and we veer off course. It’s like this, when we accept Christ and the forgiveness He offers us we began a journey , I wish I could say that we always stayed the course never getting off track but the truth is sometimes we get lost, and we take a wrong turn and start heading in the wrong direction. It could be that we don’t spend as much time in prayer and scripture because our days just seem so busy, maybe we don’t make it to church as much as we used to for whatever reason, maybe we don’t give as much as we used to, or just maybe we even feel like God has abandoned us. For whatever reason we get thrown off course and just need to get back on track.
To do this we need to look at our success and failures honestly, where I have kept my commitments. Do I still practice my spiritual disciplines, such as reading my Bible, Prayer and meditation, do I still work to strengthen my relationship with God? Am I still a cheerful Giver? Do I project the love of Christ, do I attend worship faithfully….. Even when I don’t feel like it? If not where have I took a wrong turn?
Have I let others influence my church attendance? Have I let stuff get in the way of my personal relationship with Jesus? Have I let my wants, or issues interfere with my cheerful giving? Have I began to love others less because I want things to be more about me?