Thursday, January 3, 2008

A New Leaf or a New Day

The New Year is a time when many people make resolutions, goals or radical commitments for change. There is very little spiritual significance in the change of the number 2007 to the number 2008, but there is a lot of momentum when whole societies try some kind of change all at the same time.

A number of years ago I started to go to the gym – oh, I need to resolve to go back – but I started my routine a few months before the holidays. After January 1st my trainer, Anatoliy, said, “Watch, the gym will fill up the next few weeks, people will exercise themselves sick and then give up.” True to his prediction, we watched in awe and humor as new faces came and went. The main problem was that people had unreasonable goals and they were trying to undo in 5 visits the damage and excess of living that they accumulated over their entire lives.

Christians often greet the New Year by thinking that God wipes away the past year and that all they have sown in the past will somehow cease to exist at midnight on December 31st like Cinderella’s ball costume, only in reverse fashion. The sad news is that this simply is not so.

However, the good news is that with God we do not need a New Year to make things right. God’s mercies are new every morning and His faithfulness never fails. Goals for the New Year are good, but the best way to realize them is not a sudden unrealistic surge of activity. Setting the daily goal to meet with our God insures a stable life where mercy is ever-present and foundations are laid at a rate where they can solidify to make us strong throughout the year.

The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;Great is Your faithfulness.
"The Lord is my portion," says my soul,
"Therefore I have hope in Him."
The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the person who seeks Him.
It is good that he waits silently
For the salvation of the Lord. Lam 3:22-26

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