“Putting Christ First in 2016”

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Happy New Year!  My hope and prayer for you this year, is for you to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” until you see His face (2 Peter 3:18)!

At such a time of new beginnings and hope, the average human being will analyze his deficiencies, both physical and vocational; but rarely will he see his need for domestic and spiritual change. However, the Christian, should be, above all men, ready to make the necessary adjustments to any of the categories above! Well . . . have you made any New Year’s Resolutions for this year? Many Christians pursuing needed changes in every area of their lives are being helped through a rediscovery of the great Puritan pastor, Jonathan Edwards, and his “Personal Resolutions” (There are seventy that were penned by him on August 17, 1723, when he was  not quite twenty years old!). Here are a few of those resolutions: #28 – “Resolved, to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same”; #29 – “Resolved, never to count that a prayer, nor to let that pass as a prayer, nor that as a petition of a prayer, which is so made, that I cannot hope that God will answer it; nor that as a confession, which I cannot hope God will accept it”; and #17 – “that I will live so as I shall wish I had done when I die.” For those of you who are not interested in making Edwardsean-like changes to your annual resolutions, what are the most typical New Year’s resolutions you make? Are they to: lose a few extra pounds? Aim to get in better physical shape? Quit smoking? Read a book every week?  Spend more time with those whom you love? … For a Christian, such resolutions should also include:  Being more faithful in daily Bible reading and study; Reading the entire Bible every year; Being more diligent in daily, secret, intercessory prayer; Serving Christ and loving the brethren more faithfully; and seeking to share the gospel to one unbeliever, every day...As helpful and necessary as the above resolutions are, sadly, most people do not go much deeper than what is most commonly resolved. And those resolutions are so often just annual goals – which are unlike Edwards’ personal (and lifetime) resolutions, both in content and duration. In fact, our resolution content ought to also include the Biblical resolutions to: Murder every known sin that so easily entangles us (Romans 8:13; Hebrews 12:1); Control our tongues (James 1:26; Ephesians 4:29); Be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger (James 1:19); Stop procrastinating at home, in school, at work, at church; Put on the new man (Colossians 3:9-10)...If we seek to truly reform our resolutions, I think we will find that we’ll have a much closer walk with Jesus, which we will see is the fruit of having given Him “the first place in everything” (Colossians 1:18). May God grant you a truly Happy 2016!

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