Today is the 50th day of 2020. It seemed a good time therefore to review the year so far.
Many of us no doubt start each new year with optimistic ideas and intentions. We may make new year resolutions. These might include: reading through the bible in a year, doing more exercise, losing weight, getting a new job, learning a new hobby, catching up with old friends etc. I think when we make these resolutions we are sincere about them. However, for most of us we are struggling to keep them by the end of the first week of January! This can result in us wrestling with disappointment and feelings of failure.
If you look back over the 50 days of 2020 how do you feel when you review the year so far? Do you feel despondent or are you happy with it so far? If you made any resolutions have you been able to keep them? For those who have struggled to keep your resolutions is there any particular reason why you have not kept them? Perhaps the ones you set were unrealistic. For example, if you decided you wanted to run 5 miles every night and had not exercised for several years then that was in all honesty an unrealistic target. Instead going on a 3 mile walk twice per week would have been a more realistic but still challenging one. Alternatively, did you just give up trying to keep your resolutions through a lack of self discipline?
At this stage there are two choices we can make:
1) Give up and wait until 1 January 2021 before we try again or
2) Resolve to start again
The simple truth is we cannot change what has happened during the first 50 days of 2020. Some opportunities that we had may now be lost for ever. However, what is past is now past. The only thing we can do is to leave the past in God’s hands. Let it rest with Him. Then we can resolve, by the grace of God, to press on and start again. The wonderful truth is that God’s mercies are new every morning. We do not need to wait until the beginning of next year to try again.
If you have made some resolutions then it is probably worth reviewing them and seeing if they might need amending if on reflection they were unrealistic. There are occasions, especially when we are back at work and facing stressful situations, when resolutions can be forgotten and we need space to revisit them again. Pray about them. Ask God for wisdom in your decision making.
Once you are happy with them it’s time to seek to work these out in our lives. To see real change often requires us to co-operate with God. Frequently these changes requires us to exercise self discipline. For example we might pray: “Lord help me to get up early each morning to read your word and pray.” It could be that if we listen carefully God’s reply to our prayer is: “Then go to bed earlier!”
This is the 50th day of 2020. There are still 316 days left in 2020. Do not give up but “fix your eyes on Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2) and remember Paul’s words to the church in Philippi:
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-14)