Oftentimes, the new year brings about the same difficulties that you faced the previous year. You go into this new year with these expectations in mind, and when they aren’t met immediately, you start your year very frustrated and wanting to give up already. Wanting to start reading the Bible more turns into stopping all together when you’re two weeks in and haven’t even started. Maybe you wanted to work on being more open to sharing the Gospel with friends or coworkers this year, but one bad experience puts you so far off that you give up on it.
A new year does not automatically equate to a new and better experience. It does not mean things will get easier or that having this sort of “redo” button that is January 1, 2023 will make every problem in 2022 no longer relevant. New year, new me, right? So, all those old problems are just going to be left in 2022? That couldn’t be more wrong. As long as we are living in a sin-filled world, problems will still exist; these problems will cause you pain and difficulties that will attempt to hinder your walk with Christ. The enemy does not care about your new year resolutions.
Now, this doesn’t mean you should not try. You obviously should strive to grow in your faith through various means, whether that be more time in the Word or prayer. It’s a good thing to WANT to do these things. It is important, and, when things get hard, you should work harder to keep them going.
If you look at these things as items to check off your to-do list, you are doomed for failure already. The first step in successfully taking on these tasks is to understand the end goal behind it. If you look in the Gospels, you will see people’s end goals and how they affected their ability to successfully keep up with certain disciplines. Time and time again, you see people approaching Jesus and accusing him of breaking certain traditions, whether that be the ritualistic washing of hands or working on Sundays.
First, imagine telling the Son of God he’s not keeping God’s command correctly. Second, imagine doing that so confidently and being so wrong. They viewed the law as their way of getting into Heaven. It was through their works that they earned eternal life in God’s presence. It had nothing to do with honoring God, growing closer to Him, or loving Him with all your heart and soul. It was simply a transaction and them checking something off their spiritual to-do list.
With that mindset, you will always fail. In your effort to just “do,” you forget the “why,” and when the slightest obstacle arises, it’ll just become something you’ll just opt to take off your plate for convenience’s sake. The new year will not solve the difficulties of the past. As appealing as a fresh slate may sound, it will do nothing without a heart change. To have better discipline to complete these goals, you must first realize it is impossible for you to perfectly complete them. You will fail at times, give up for periods, and encounter many obstacles. That is okay. It’s this way for everyone now as it was for everyone as far back as Adam and Eve, with only one exception–Jesus Christ. So, do your best, but remember perfection isn’t the end goal. In all that you do, honor God always. As long as you do that, I trust that everything’s going to be alright.