By Alan Smith
At the beginning of a New Year, a high school principal decided to post his teachers' New Year's resolutions on the bulletin board. As the teachers gathered around the bulletin board, a great commotion started. One of the teachers was complaining. "Why weren't my resolutions posted?" She was throwing such a temper tantrum that the principal hurried to his office to see if he had overlooked her resolutions. Sure enough, he had mislaid them on his desk.
As he read her resolutions he was astounded. This teacher's first resolution was not to let little things upset her in the New Year.
It has been said that "nothing is certain but death and taxes." Perhaps we should add one more thing to that list of certainties -- the breaking of New Year's resolutions! Looking back on 2008, you may be one of the fortunate ones who accomplished exactly what you hoped to accomplish during the year. But, if you're like most of us, you didn't read all the way through the Bible like you intended to, you quit smoking but only for a while then picked up the habit again, or you lost a few pounds only to put them back on again when your diet failed. After experiencing this failure year after year, a person tends to say to himself, "What's the use? Why even bother to try to make these changes?"
As an old Chinese proverb puts it, though, "Failure is not falling down. Failure is not getting back up." Or as the Japanese put it, "Fall down seven times, get up eight." If there are areas of your life that you've tried to improve and failed, let this this be the month that you try again. And if you fail this month, get up and try again next month. Learn from your mistakes and become stronger. God does not turn his back on the Christian who fails (if you question that, you need only look at the story of Peter's denial of Christ). However, He cannot help the Christian who refuses to try any longer.
"Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hearts, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded....Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up." (James 4:7-8,10)
If you have made a resolution to develop a habit that will bring you closer to God or a resolution to get rid of a habit that is pulling you away from God, may God bless you with the strength to accomplish your goal. And, if you should stumble on your journey, may He pick you up and dust you off so that you can continue on the long journey of becoming like Christ.
Have a great day!
- Alan Smith, author of the popular "Thought For Today," and minister for the White House church of Christ in White House, TN, may be contacted at email@example.com