Summary: Since resolutions make us consider the future, the best New Year’s resolutions are the ones we’ll enjoy throughout eternity.
December 28, 1997
A. You did it! You made it through another year. In a few days 1997 will be history.
And a new year is right around the corner. A year full of possibility and opportunity. 12 months. 52 weeks. 365 days. 8760 hours. 525, 600 minutes and 31,536,000 seconds. What will you do with all this time?
B. This is typically the time of year to make resolutions. In the dictionary resolution is defined as “a course of action decided upon; a fixed purpose.”
We resolve to do things differently. To lose weight, to exercise more. To be a better person. To dispense with old bad habits and begin some new good ones.
A newspaper in Boston has been allowing people to post new year’s resolutions on their website. Here are a few interesting ones:
I resolve to stop feeding the office plant leftover coffee. I will use water instead.
My new year’s resolution is to really start collecting Muppet and Peanuts stuff in the coming year!
As much as I hate government intervention, I resolve to try and get a law passed that requires every person on the face of this earth to have to use their common sense at least once a day!!!!
As a Theatre Major, I seldom have much time to eat real food...never mind eating with my family. This year, I resolve to try REAL hard to stop eating McDonalds and Wendy’s for 2 out of 3 meals a day. If that isn’t possible, I promise to at least clean the remains from my car.
I wish to become the old crone that my body already says that I am and stop trying to look like Barbie due to our culture.
I hearby resolve to accept the changes occurring at work. I will try to remember that the decision-makers have a brain and will use it if necessary. Finally, I will cheer for them if it works and I will not laugh if it doesn’t!
To refuse to take responsibility for my decisions, to never take the blame, not stand by my promises, and to ignore the needs of the poor. In short, my resolution is to become a politician!
To become as wonderful a person as my dog thinks I am.
C. THESIS: If we are interested in keeping any of our resolutions this year, we should adhere to the methods employed by Paul in Philippians 3:13.
I. WE MUST ENGAGE IN THE PRELIMINARY ACTIVITY
“Forgetting what is behind.” (v. 13)
A. Paul is talking about forgetting in such a way that the past, good or bad, will have no negative bearing on one’s present spiritual growth and condition.
1. Forget the wrongs that could paralyze you with guilt and despair.
Paul definitely had some of these. As a persecutor of the church, he had a lot he wanted to leave behind.
2. Forget the attainments that might cause you to pull into “neutral.”
He also didn’t want to dwell on how far he had come from where he was. This might make him want to be content with where he was, and too satisfied or smug about his spirituality. He realized he still had a long way to go if he wanted to know Christ fully and completely.
B. In order to make solid resolutions we have to put the failures of previous attempts behind us.
Sometimes we make resolutions and find that it takes us a very short period of time before we have already broken them. Out of 10 people who make New Year’s resolutions, eight won’t keep them for more than a month.
Maybe your failure to keep past resolutions makes you cynical or skeptical about making any for 1998. But if we adhere to the method of Paul, we forget about all those.
Speaking of forgetting: 2 old men were sitting on a park bench. One of the men said, “You know as I get older I can’t remember things the way I used to.” The other man said, “I used to have that problem too until I took this memory course. It’s a very simple technique, based on associating words with names, places and events. Now because of that I don’t have trouble remembering anything at all.” The first man said, “Really? What was the name of the course?”
The old man got a puzzled look on his face, turned white as a sheet, scratched his head, then asked, “What’s the flower with a long stem, has thorns on it, the petals can be white or yellow or red?” “A rose?” the other man replied. “Yes, thank you!”
He turned to his wife and said, “Rose, what was the name of that memory course?”
That’s pretty forgetful. In a similar way, if we want to move forward, we have to put the mistakes of the past behind. To forget them as over and done with.